The first day of school is almost here. Kindergartners are afraid they won’t be able to find the bathroom, that they might cry, or might not be able to get the straw into their juice box. Grade schoolers wonder if their friends will be in their class, or whether they got the nice or the mean teacher. Middle school is an especially difficult transition, and children entering middle school can spend the latter part of the summer worrying whether they’ll be able to manage their lockers. I find this especially poignant because I think taking 11 year-olds out of elementary school essentially locks them out of childhood well before its time. And then there’s the dog-eat-dog social world of most high schools, when peer pressure begins in earnest. While most kids come in contact with drugs, alcohol, and sex before 9th grade, both exposure and pressure to use then becomes relatively ubiquitous. Only ostrich parenting pretends otherwise. Entering college freshman must generally make the huge adjustment to living away from home, sometimes hundreds of miles away from home. We are pretty much the only culture that asks this of our 18 year- olds. And students themselves can assign higher status to schools which are farther away, no matter their academic reputation. Now of course the school years are also filled with adventure, friendships, and the excitement of growing. But it also truly behooves us to recognize the significant emotional adjustments children must make to get an education, and that they may be in especial need of support come September.
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This is very helpful.
I’m going to keep this in mind when writing my own blog, thanks.