When I was in elementary school, we ran on the playground, there were no fences or locked gates and my mom could volunteer on a whim. Fast forward 30 years and my kids were in school. I could volunteer on a whim, like my mom, but I noticed running on the playground was becoming a “get in trouble” activity. That was startling! Schools had also become gated and parents were being asked to drop off and pick up at the gates, instead of the classrooms. Fast forward another 20 years, and we have drive-thru drop off and pickup; most parents don’t even go on campus. Do you see the trend?
We are seeing less and less parent interaction on campus, in the classroom, and almost no face-to-face contact with teachers or other students and parents. This has happened little by little over the last 50 years and has been almost undetectable. Why? Because we collectively adjust and forget over time.
When parents rarely see their child’s classroom and don’t get to know other students and teachers, it creates a huge gap between home and school. There are no relationships being cultivated. There is no, “Look what I did today, mommy!” in the classroom, or “This is my new friend.” Those experiences are precious and they matter. What has replaced that excitement and connection are the reminders and stresses about homework and grades. Home has become an extension of school, instead of school being a resource for home.
Let’s Take a Look at a Few Additional Changes
|Two parents (team)||Single parents (tired and often fighting with each other)|
|One parent focused on home (raising kids is important) and the other focused on income||Both parents working (no one is focusing on home)|
|Kids home for the first five years (stable roots)||Daycare at 6 weeks old (no roots)|
|Home after school (time off to play and be with family)||Before and after school programs|
|Family meals (connection and relationship building)||Sports and other activities (busy lifestyle)|
We push our toddlers to potty train so they can be in pre-school so they are not behind in kindergarten.
|Anxiety Disorder is being diagnosed as early as 3 years old|
|Suicide as young as 5 years old|
|Mental health disorders and diagnoses running rampant in all ages of children|
Parents, do not let societal “norms” that do not work, intimidate you. Little by little, parents are losing their voice and ability to advocate for their children. You saw above what occurred slowly over 50 years. What will it look like 50 years from now, if we don’t stand up today? Our children see their parents with no power, and that is a lie.
How will you stand up for your child’s self-care and your family’s ability to strengthen its roots? If you don’t find a way, we will continue losing our children to self-harm, suicide, drugs, medication, mental health trauma, isolation and hopelessness. It is in the hands of parents to make the changes that are necessary.
Here are Some Suggestions that Might Help
|Expectations. Your child’s “best” has to be good enough. Listen when they say they need a break.|
|Missing Assignments. When your child knows the content, ask the teacher to excuse the additional assignments. “Busy work” is frustrating for everyone, and time is valuable.|
|Self-Care. Down time, sleep, joy, family time, play … are all essential.|
|Sports. Don’t agree to sports on Sundays or holiday weekends. It robs families of precious time they will never get back.|
|Personality Conflicts. Don’t force your student to deal with a difficult teacher for an entire year. Sometimes (not always) you just need to move your student.|
We need to prioritize family stability. That is the key to communities that work. It starts at home. Take back your power. Listen to your kids. You are creating their future and the future of the generations that follow. You’ve got this!
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 phone consultation here! Contact Traci directly at 951-240-1407 or firstname.lastname@example.org.