STATON: Returning to school can be stressful for children
The other night, as I was reading an article about children going back to school, a few things made me remember my own school days.
One of the things that I read was about children being stressed about school.
My parents raised us to be very independent, and I am glad they did. However, I still remember some children crying and hiding behind their mom’s dress or holding on tightly to her not wanting her to leave them the first day of school.
To be honest, I had looked so forward to my first day of school that I could not understand what all the tears were about. My mom had groomed me so to speak that I would be going to school and riding the school bus with my brothers and sister, and I was excited to do that.
Through the article I read, it made me realize how different children really are.
While I had looked forward to going to school, another child may have had a complete panic attack on being left alone in a classroom of children.
Children learn coping skills from their parents and not all parents are alike either.
In the article it was suggested how stress could be manifested differently at different ages. Parents need to be alert as to know when their child is stressed.
They gave an example that smaller children usually will have meltdowns. An older child may harbor stress within themselves. A teen could show stress by lashing out at his parents or siblings. They could have changes in their appetites or in their sleep patterns, while other children may have headaches or stomachaches often.
My oldest daughter, Kim, for two years it seemed would get sick at the beginning of school.
I would rush her to Lexington to her pediatrician and she was actually put in the hospital and all kinds of tests were run on her.
The end result of those tests were for me to be told by Dr. Scott that all he could find out was she did not want to be shared by 24 other little children.
I got smart and took her to the doctor before school began the next year and told her the doctor said she was fine so she would be fine at school. It worked.
I remember how stressful my freshman year of high school was. I had always loved school but was not happy my freshman year. I kept it to myself since I thought my mom and dad had enough to worry about in life.
Parents are not always told when something bothers a child. In some ways, my siblings and I were taught that if we had a problem, to figure it out on our own.
Another thing I thought of was that some children may get stressed out because their parents do not have the money to buy name-brand clothes or name-brand tennis shoes.
I sure hope parents teach their children that it is so stupid to let a kid think because someone wears all name brand clothes the person is special. Sooner or later they will realize it is the person inside the clothes who is worthy of their praise because of the way they treat others and the respect they show for one another.
I think too much emphasis is put on name brand clothes. I hope children realize they are the same person no matter what they wear. They just need to be themselves all the time.
To me, the same goes for friends. As long as they are not doing anything illegal, parents should let their children choose their friends. My mom always made my friends feel welcome at our house. My dad was a little intimidating at times because he expected us to work — friends or no friends.
One bit of stress that could be avoided is that parents and children need to prepare for the next day the night before to prevent less hassle in the mornings. Even getting up 15 minutes earlier will help eliminate the morning craziness that can get the day off bad for everyone.
I have seen the times certain children would loved to had their friends come home with them from school but were too embarrassed to invite them home because their house would be too dirty. While our house was nothing fancy, I never felt this way, and through the years, my siblings and I invited many people to our home. After all, if you have true friends, it never matters how fancy your home is. I do think parents should keep their homes clean enough for their children to have company. Filthy homes are not good for anyone.
I hope students have been taught to respect their teachers and that teachers are giving their best in class each day.
I also hope a child has been taught to report any kind of bullying if they experience it themselves or see a classmate being bullied. Teach them bullying can be reported anonymously.
All in all, I hope it will be a stress-free year, but most of us know some things do pop up throughout the year.
This year, as with every year lately, I will be praying for everyone involved with the school year — parents included!
I want to end with this verse from 2 Timothy 2:15, “Study to show thyself approved, a workman that needed not be ashamed.”
Sue Staton is a Clark County native. She is a wife, mother and grandmother who is active in her church, First United Methodist Church, and her homemakers group, Towne and Country Homemakers.