Back to School! Mom and DAD, Do You Know How Your Child is Feeling? Written by Ilissa Banhazl, MFT

parenting counseling

You wanted them!

Back to school can be fun because your child gets to see his friends again but for some the return of the bully may be lurking in the hallways. Have you asked your child how he’s doing socially?

Of course we hope that back to school means our children are excited to open their minds and learn! Does your child have a good teacher this year? Do they like their teacher? Have you asked about their teacher and what their time spent in the classroom looks like? Do you check their homework to catch mistakes and teach them the correct answer before returning to class? If you understand it!

How’s your child feeling academically? Are they struggling or breezing right through? Have you asked your child their favorite subject and which is their most difficult? Is it time to get a tutor or find time to go through your child’s tough assignments together? Remember it’s easier to try to keep up your grades than try to recover from falling wayyy behind. Don’t wait too long into the school year. Ask now and often as the year progresses.

We all want our kids to achieve excellence in academics but could you be putting too much pressure on your child to do well? Have you asked them how they feel or if they feel a lot of pressure to do well? Or are you not pressuring enough? Maybe hands-off parenting is not the way to go! Check in with their agendas and schoolwork. Be aware of their grades and meet with their teacher if it might be helpful for your child’s success. You may have to role model how to do an assignment. Sometimes teachers unfortunately don’t do their jobs well but others can be life changing. What kind of teacher does your child have?

We all know it’s important for out children to engage in extra-curricular activities. But how many? Is your child over-scheduled? Have you asked them how they feel about all their different activities? Are they enjoying them or trying to please you? Is it taking too much time away from schoolwork? However, it is important to have your child involved in other things outside of school to develop their talents, confidence, skills, and social world. Make time to research programs and find time to drive them where they need to go.

How are they doing in PE? Not all of our kids are meant to be athletes. They have other talents. Is P.E. uncomfortable for your child? Does he need a pep talk and your support validating his or her experience in P.E.? Any funny stories you can share from your own miserable PE days. This is also a good time to talk about life and having to suck up things that are difficult. This is how character is built right? Could your child be experiencing any issues with other kids in the locker room? Most times teachers have no idea what goes on in there! Ask!

Your child is like a small adult with his or her own pressures. They are very sensitive to adult relationships. Is your relationship causing your child to stress or have concerns. Ask your child how things are going or if they have any questions for you. Any problems you can help with? Don’t wait for you child to come you. Often they can be embarrassed and worry telling mom or dad may cause more problems. Be honest in your responses but age appropriate.

If parents can remain calm and adult-like in their parenting then they can become the greatest ally for their child. Opening that door without judgment but with acceptance will be the greatest gift that you can give your child. You will gain an inroad to guiding them and preventing some dangerous mishaps.

Your child wants your attention. Watch their face when you behave interested and you’ll just see it. Try not to preach at these times, just listen or they may shut down. You can respond later. Timing is everything!

Don’t wait until your child is a teen to engage because it may be too late. At that age they want to be with their friends most of the time and think they know way more than mom and dad. You want to start this relationship early so it lasts a lifetime. We don’t get a do over with our kids so… you wanted them; don’t they deserve your very best?

You love them and want them to turn out well and happy. Being an involved parent is the best chance you have to achieve this.

Want to discuss your parenting style right now?



About Ilissa Banhazl

Ilissa Banhazl is a licensed marriage and family psychotherapist, former grade school teacher and holds a masters degree in reading. She has a private practice in Glendora, CA and lives in the Los Angeles area with her husband and three children. She specializes in adult, adolescent, individual, couple, and family relationship counseling as well as eating disorder treatment and recovery. She facilitates a Women’s Support Group in Glendora as well as a Women’s Disordered Eating & Body Image Group. Ilissa authors 3 therapy blogs, Marriage and Family, Eating Disorders and Group Therapy. You can follow her at FB and Twitter. or
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