If you have kids in middle or high school, the term “missing assignments” is all too familiar. When I went to school, our parents didn’t know what our grades were until the six-week progress reports and the semester report cards. Maybe not the best plan, but daily reports is not a good plan either. It creates tremendous stress for the whole family.
As parents, we do often wonder why the assignments are missing. That’s natural. I tend to think of it this way: Imagine your child is working for six bosses. Each boss is equally weighted in power and they ALL want your child’s attention EVERY DAY. And, your child isn’t working in their area of passion or anything they’ve even done before. They are learning something new each day. Being sick or taking a “mental health” day isn’t an option because the catch-up puts them way behind. Thus, kids can easily get overwhelmed and lose their motivation because every day is another mountain to climb; rarely a plateau.
Another thing to consider is what if your child needs to spend extra time on one class because they struggle with that subject? That’s common. The end result is it takes time away from another class. They may give up sleep to make up for it, but that takes its toll on the body, and they often get in trouble for being up too late or being tired in the morning. They are literally pressed on all sides.
Currently, many kids are away from friends and working at home with stressed parents who are also often struggling. I understand school is important and overcoming challenges is a great skill. However, sleep matters, stress is a killer, JOY is IMPERATIVE, and many kids feel like there is NO reprieve. Even Easter, Summer and Christmas breaks aren’t always breaks anymore. Mental down time is essential.
All the way through school kids are told, “If you don’t do XYZ now, you won’t be ready for kindergarten, next year, middle school, high school, etc.” There are 4.4 million kids in the United States diagnosed with anxiety disorder from age 3 to 17. Wow! And that’s just the “diagnosed” cases.
Parents … give this some thought. Do your kids have balance? Are they always “working”? Do they sleep well? How often do they get to enjoy today, or are they always striving to be ready for tomorrow? How often are you fighting and battling over school, homework and missing assignments vs. how often are you talking about who they are, what they enjoy and how they are doing as a person? PLEASE … give your kids the benefit of the doubt. If what is being asked of them doesn’t seem reasonable or you see them crumbling under the pressure, ask for adjustments, a slower pace or forgiven assignments. Teachers often understand.
What You Can Do
Your kids are not the enemy. Talk to them to find out what would work better for school. Get creative. What is causing them stress? Why do they get behind? Are their teachers approachable and helpful? Do they feel comfortable asking for help? Some kids are introverts and some are extroverts. Some are great at math and others at writing. They aren’t perfect and we need to stop treating them like they should be. We are pushing our kids to the brink and THAT is why they are depressed, anxious and hurting themselves. They have no reprieve, no advocate, no voice. Everyone is pushing them for more, and discounting their answer of WHY they are struggling. It can be too much. Do not let that be your family. Ask. Listen. Adjust.
Traci L. Williams is the Founder of A Loving Way to Parent. She is known for her intuitive and practical approach to parenting. Schedule a free 15-minute phone consultation to find out how she can support your family! (firstname.lastname@example.org ~ 951-240-1407 ~ www.alovingway.com)