Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Parenting Through School Year Insecurities

“The LORD Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deut 31:8

The start of a new school year brings all the excitement of a fresh start. The “boredom” of summer is over – in contrast to the boredom of school just a few months ago – and a new adventure has begun. New classes, new routines, and even new school supplies. Don’t you just love the smell of a new eraser?

However, not every kid finds the change to be exciting. Some tremble, literally, with fear over walking into a new classroom. I remember the red-faced embarrassment I felt one year when I couldn’t find my new locker, and when a friend came along to help me locate the elusive closet, I couldn’t remember the combination! What a mess.

If your child frets over the natural insecurities that arise from the start of a new school year, try helping in these practical ways:

1. Talk about the fears out loud – Our worst anxieties thrive “in the dark.” In fact, counseling theories abound with encouragements to bring our worries into the light of truth and reason. When your child talks about his or her fears, some of the power of that anxiety is released.

2. Speak encouragement – You know your child’s “love language” enough to know if encouragement sounds like affirming words, or a lingering hug. Speak encouragement into your child’s life in some dialect they understand. Let them know what fears you faced at their age, and how you found the courage to overcome those insecurities.

3. Help your child remember the Lord – When your son or daughter walks into the school building, you are not welcome. You cannot be by his or her side when that fear creeps in. However, the Lord is there. By His Spirit, He can bring peace, confidence, and courage into that painfully awkward moment. Before the kids leave home, take a moment to pray for them, and ask the Lord to be near to them during the coming day.

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