The new-school-year thrills and captivates both children and parents alike. The kids are equipped with new backpacks, sharpened pencils, fresh notebooks and the anticipation of what the year will bring. And for parents, well, a moment of silence is more valuable than gold.
However, once the excitement fades, the routine can eventually lead to stress. Maybe your child woke up late and missed the bus. Maybe you forgot to pack their lunch. Maybe everyone missed the announcement of a project and is now scrambling.
These stresses are real and these situations can happen. However, they can be extremely detrimental to the success of your child throughout the academic year. It’s imperative to maintain healthy stress management as a family so the children aren’t the ones who continuously feel the tension.
After all, stress is a major reason for drug use in children and young adults. And stress coupled with depression, pressure and boredom is a recipe for disaster.
By the time they hit 12th grade, around half of teens will have abused an illicit drug at least once, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Of kids who have tried alcohol, one in four had their first drink by 12, reports the U.S. Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
- It starts with the parents: You had to work overtime, your car didn’t start and the new guy got the promotion instead of you. That’s a hard day. However, when you finally get home and see those shining faces, it’s time to leave that bad day at the door. Take a deep breath and sink into a warm hug remembering your children were not the reason you struggled today.
- Have open talks:Become the “askable” parent so your kids will turn to you when they have worries and stresses instead of turning to their friends, or worse, to substances. Practice active communication.
- Better yet, talk around the table: Eating meals together can provide an opportunity to stay connected and talk with your children about important topics, or just about the day’s events.
- Set meetings and stay organized: Life can get hectic and patience can wear thin when each family member is spinning off in their own direction. Strike a more harmonious tone in your household by having family meetings so that schedules can be synched, menus planned and materials gathered with fewer stressful surprises.
- Stay active:Staying active is important to mental health too, so encourage the family to exercise regularly. An evening walk or an afternoon bike ride is a great way to bond, relieve stress and add a little adventure, it also helps to open up the lines of communication.
- Make time for fun: Let’s not forget that spending time with your children and teens should be fun. Go to a movie, play a board game– spending time with your kids will help strengthen your bond and ease tension. Your children will not onlyrespect you as a parent and role model, but they will appreciate and cherish your friendship as well.
Still feeling stressed? Always remember there are professional resources available for both children and families. For more information visit http://www.sbhservices.org/
Written by: Sara Listar-Guest
Sara Listar-Guest is a Marriage and Family therapist at Southwest Behavioral Health & Services in Phoenix, Arizona. Sara has experience working with children, families, and couples. Sara believes that anyone is capable of change, and wants to help couples and families in their journey’s.