If you are a parent like me, you have been busy for the past few weeks preparing yourself and your child or children for the new school year. When the back-to-school shopping is done and the day comes, you want your children to be prepared for whatever they may face in the next few months. New teachers, new friends, new experiences.
As a mom, I know I wish that all my sons had nothing but wonderful, fun-filled adventures, no pain, no sorrow, no heartbreak. But I can't stop life from throwing volleyballs at my kids sometimes. So what does a loving parent do when they know their kids are going to face situations they have no control over? Pray. And give the child as much love, encouragement and support as possible so they know where they can go when life get tough.
What do you do if you know your child is being bullied by another child at school? What if your child is the one doing the bullying? Both are situations that need to be addressed - and quickly. If you know that your child falls into either one of these categories, it is best to prepare him or her for the year by giving them encouragement, support and some tips on how to handle what they will inevitably face. Parents who realize their children are bullying others should consider counseling for the child.
Parents should also make an effort to meet the teachers and other students in the school and in your child's classes. Hold a conference with your child's teacher (before school begins, if you can) to make them aware of the situation. Volunteer for events that are taking place at the school and offer to sit in on the classes if there is need of a parent helper. Join the PTA. The more you make yourself accessible to the school as a volunteer, the safer your child will feel having you nearby. At the same time, you can keep an eye on your child.
Parents, find a happy medium when it comes to checking on your child's social media life. Every child above the age of around ten seems to have a Facebook page or is attached to one of the social media sites. While you need to make sure your child is staying safe when browsing online, give your child the respect of some amount of freedom. This is a situation that should always be left up to each individual parent and child. Only a parent knows their child's personality and how much leeway he or she should be given. If you can trust your child, try to give them space. If you can't, put into action events that will help them earn your trust, encouragement and respect. Give them responsibilities, such as chores or a pet to take care of.
Above all, as you send your child back out into the school atmosphere, nurture them, respect them and give them encouragement, lend them a supporting hand. Let them know that you are there for them, that you care and you will keep them safe, even while they are away from you, in any way you can. If your child has trouble in a specific school subject, make it a point to hire or request a tutor from the school. The love and encouragement of a supportive parent, guardian or adult can give any troubled child the support he or she needs to get through the school year successfully.