A new scholastic year is never easy, but there are things parents can do to keep their kids on top form throughout the year.
When my son first started school he had a hard time getting used to all the new things that came with it. New people to meet and talk to, responsibility in the shape of homework, dealing with an authority who was not there to make his life easier.
I was often torn between confronting my son’s problems myself and letting him learn through experience, and by the end I decided to follow the kliem ix-xih: give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day, teach a man how to fish and he’ll feed himself for life.
Making Friends: The truth is some people find it easier to make friends than others, so if, like my kid, yours is a bit shy, he might find it really difficult to fit in. The trick – which I used myself when I started secondary school – is to smile and look confident. It’s not easy, but even by smiling at people they don’t know, they’ll be opening up to new people and you never know which of them might end up becoming their best friend.
Bullies: Some people get bullied. Actually, let me rephrase that: a lot of people get bullied. It’s not fun, but crying about it won’t make things any better. When our child is a bully’s target then he needs to step up. The most important thing to teach them is to not give in and to make the bully believe that his remarks and attitude do not affect your child. Get your child to talk to a teacher and let them know that you are there to listen to them.
Don’t be gullible, however, remember that being bullied is a big bruise on the ego and children might not tell you everything. There will be a lot of times, when as a parent, you’ll just want to go and slap the crap out of the bully, but restrain yourself both in the name of the law and in the hopes that your child will grow up to know how to deal with people who try to put them down.
Teachers: There are nice teachers and there are horrible ones who make you want to run into them kicking and screaming. I’ve had many horrible experiences with teachers myself, ones who hated me because I talked too much, or because I laughed too loud, or because my drawing skills were not up to scratch. When a teacher is not nice to your kid, constantly remind them that it’s only for a year and that they’ll be out of it before they know it.
Tell them to stay on the teacher’s good side, not to interrupt and to make sure that they hand their homework in on time. If the problems get out of hand, go to a guidance counsellor with your child and figure out what can be done. Remember, however, teachers are there as an authority, so make sure your child is not causing any problems before you start badmouthing them!
Homework: When I was younger I’d often go to school without my homework and I just didn’t care. I’d get a detention or a copy and I hated my homework even more. What I’ve started doing with my son, to avoid the drama my parents had to deal with, is to sit down with him and work through his homework together. We spend around two hours working on whatever he’s got, looking things up on the Internet and explaining things he hasn’t really got the hang of. It also doubles as quality time between mother and child so it’s great!