Both my kids started new chapters in their education last month. I was, as always, more nervous than they were when they set off on the first day. But it all went well, they came back with plenty of tales to tell and big smiles on their faces. ‘What the hell was I worrying about?’ I asked myself.
Six weeks have passed since then. The early novelty has resided and the adrenaline has started to run dry. Where once there was optimism and excitement, now there is anxiety, stress and tears. Starting a new school can be brutal. Especially for the parents.
They say you’re only ever as happy as your unhappiest child. It’s true that no matter how well things are going, it’s hard to take pleasure from life when you know one of your offspring is experiencing some sort of pain.
The annoying thing is, it’s rarely possible to fix the emotional issues of your kids. You can love them, support them and try to understand but you can’t ever do what you’d really like to, which is climb inside their mind and start managing their thoughts and feelings. Admittedly, it’s an unhealthy desire – but, deep down, it’s what all parents crave. We can’t handle something that has such a huge impact on our own mood being so far beyond our control.
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When things are going bad in my own life, I at least have the option of taking a nap or eating a Snickers, two fail-safe mood improvers. But if you witness your kid going to school stressed, coming home upset, wondering if things will ever get better – you feel you’re watching from inside a glass box that prevents you from reaching out and touching them.