Summer is over and your student is back to school. You are beginning to get your family back into the routine of a non-summer schedule and the new normal is starting to sink in, well at least starting to (coffee helps!).
In the hustle of getting all the last minute school supplies when, let’s be real, many stores began not only running out of the exact supplies you needed from the list given by the school, but many stores also looked like a paper tornado had come through making it almost impossible to find that exact type of pencil. You made it. Your child is in school and you are reading this knowing you made it.
The school clothes and child-approved shoes were purchased, the backpacks and the lunchboxes were packed, ready for that first day as you aimed to be different this year. This year you said you were going to be the family that is on time and prepared. In the hustle of back-to-school, we often forget some of the most important parts of sending our kids off to school.
Our kids, of any age cannot hear the words “I love you” enough from us. Saying this regularly is very important but so is affirming who they are and who they can become. You may have a fond memory of opening your lunch to find a note from mom saying something that would make you absolutely embarrassed for your friends to read as a young student but put a smile on your face. Lets remember that warm feeling throughout this school year, even when the pencils become dull and you drift back to being the family that isn’t always on time and isn’t the most prepared (no one’s perfect after-all!).
This school year we challenge each parent to participate in your child’s educational process in a fresh way, being an active vs. a neutral or passive voice in some of the most important discussions they will have this year.
Parent, we challenge you to:
- Send your child (of any age) a surprise note from you at least once a week.
- Encourage and affirm their talents, abilities, and who they are becoming.
- Remind them of how loved and valued they are and remind them that you believe in them!
- Speak to them openly and remind them that you are there for them (make sure to look them in the eyes when saying this).
- Help your child (of any age) to set or update their list of goals for the year. Encourage them also to think of what they would like to do long term and assist them in setting goals.
- If appropriate for their age, establish a code word that only you two will know and can be used by the child to help them if they are in a situation with others where they do not feel comfortable flat out asking for you to come get them.
- If your child is 10 years old and you have not talked to them about sex, put this as an immediate priority. If you don’t someone else will.
- Tell your child (no matter your past and of course in an age-appropriate way) that you believe in them and that they are able to wait until marriage to have sex. Remind them of the talk you had with them and that you are always there for them if they have questions or concerns.
- Set boundaries about dating and discuss them with your child.
- Listen to your child and when (not if) they say something you do not like, respond un-shockable and instead of blowing up at them, look them in the eyes and ask them questions. Hear their heart, leaning into their desires and fears to help guide them along the right path.
- Pray for your child daily.
- Tell them you love them at least once daily.
About the author: Kristin enjoys encouraging and equipping patients by first introducing them to Hope online as well as other helpful points of truth that will empower them in making informed decisions regarding their unplanned pregnancies. She has worked with students and their parents for years, speaking to them about healthy relationships, goal setting/achieving, and committing/re-committing to sexual purity. She and her husband are trained foster parents and are excited about receiving a child in the near future.