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2 Ways to Navigate Back-to-School Challenges

By Michelle Klavohn on 08/28/2014 | General

The kindergartner with backpack on, boarding the bus for the first time.

The grade schooler that gets a teacher that “everyone” says is terrible.

The junior higher who goes to school and has no one she knows in her lunch period.

A new school year can spur many emotions for a parent watching a child confront new scenarios. It can be stretching to navigate, especially when you see the girl you care about facing a difficult situation. But how you respond contributes an important piece of the education that comes her way.

So, what can you do to make the most of this school year? A few thoughts... 

Don’t “snowplow”

A relatively recent term, a parent who “snowplows” gets overly involved in trying to clear the way of any kind of obstacle for their child.

While the intention may be right—being an advocate and providing love and support—experts find that this kind of hyper-involvement can really do much more harm than good for kids. When an adult makes a habit of intervening, she robs the child of important opportunities to develop initiative, problem-solving skills and the confidence that results.

Some questions to ask yourself when you feel the urge to snowplow:

What might my child learn from this challenging situation?

What does my rescue behavior say to my girl about her abilities?

Provide a haven

Allowing your child to learn to navigate a situation certainly doesn’t mean removing yourself completely as she learns. You can, and should be, a source of strength and support for your girl when she’s dealing with challenge or disappointment. Connect. Ask specific questions like, “What was the hardest part about not making the team?” or “Was it difficult to see friends who got asked to the dance?”

Creating a safe place for your girl to express feelings gives her a place to come up with solutions of her own. Offering encouragement like “I know you can figure this out” can boost strength of spirit in anyone, let alone a child.

Just last school year, my child had a challenging year with a teacher. During the summer we had a meaningful discussion about it and what good, if any, came from the situation. My child’s shoulders straightened and a confident laugh emerged with the declaration, “I learned to deal with it.”

A pretty good lesson in our family book.

Education. Check.


We thank Michelle for being a guest author for Remarkable! Michelle is a writer, college instructor, family coach and fan of Girls on the Run. Her e-newsletter Families that Thrive delves into a new topic each week with inspiration and advice.

Michelle Klavohn

Author

Michelle Klavohn holds more than 20 years in the field of human development. A family coach with a Master's degree in Organizational Communication and 10 years as an educator, she equips families to close the gap between the family they dream of and what they experience each day. Michelle writes about family for Chicago-area publications and is a contributor to Houston Family Magazine. | www.michelleklavohn.com

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