I debated about whether or not I should write a blog post about back to school. I could write a piece about vaccinations, school lunches or school phobia. But I decided to defer these topics to my other colleagues. Instead I want to reflect on what it’s like for a parent when your kids return to school.
I’m at a totally different stage of parenting this year. One kid will be going to college next year and the other will be entering high school. Teenagers returning to school is way different. Let me share what I’ve learned over the last month.
1. It’s not worth being right because your kids still think you’re wrong. As a pediatrician, I know about the developmental stages of adolescence but all that education goes out the window when I’m in the middle of parenting. I can’t count how many times I’ve told one of my sons to do something and then they decide do the opposite. I have to learn that this is part of growing up and allowing them to make their own mistakes.
2. This too shall pass. It’s only been a few weeks since school started but it feels like it’s been a lot longer. I have to stop myself from asking another question about whether or not my sons have finished their homework or studied for a test. I just remind myself that adolescence only lasts a short time. Current brain science suggests that adolescence can last into the mid-twenties.
3. Don’t take it personally. I know my kids love me but sometimes this notion gets tested especially when they let me know that I’m not as funny as I think I am. This is painfully obvious when tell a joke, I receive a disapproving head shake or a blank stare. I’m only trying to lighten the mood especially after a hard day at school or a test that didn’t go so well. I’ve learned to shake it off or I have since school started.
4. Good enough is better than perfect. Kids are under so much stress to try to be perfect, get straight A’s or a near perfect SAT score. The last thing I want to do is add to the stress. I’ve evolved to good enough, giving their best. That’s all that they can ask from themselves.
5. There are 8 months to go before the end of another school year. I don’t want to rush it. My kids have grown up too fast and I want their childhood to last as long as possible. The countdown has began and I want to savor every minute, hour, day, week and month.