Where Do You Fall in the Back to School Parenting Journey?

August 1, 2019 | by rebecca stewart

So, listen…Back to school. As parents some of us are beyond ready to get that structured living back in the mix, while others (guilty) are not quite ready to step back into the non-stop grind of the school year. With the approach of a new school year, parents are anticipating the year in a variety of ways.

There are the parents heading into the school year who are 100% in with the bittersweet emotions. We’re looking at you parents of littles preparing to head off to kindergarten. And in the same boat, but at the other end of the spectrum, are the parents of seniors in high school whose hearts and heads are swirling over all of the firsts of the lasts they’re set to encounter over the next nine months.

Hitting other milestone years, you’ve got what we’ll affectionately call, the nervous nellies. These are the parents of incoming first-time middle schoolers and high school freshman. (There is definitely overlap in this section, especially for parents who are essentially professional worriers). These parents – while appearing cool like cucumbers to their children – are equally concerned as their children are about things like their child getting lost or not being able to get their locker open. Fortunately, experience eventually reigns supreme, and the voice of reason sets in: This is what orientations are for, the teachers are willing helpers, they will not spend more than a couple of days getting their bearings. That aside, we’ll just go ahead and worry about the emotional rollercoaster that so often accompanies these tumultuous tween/teen years. Basically, if kids could not be jerkfaces to each other, that would be great. 

Then there is the whole slew of in-between years where parents can settle into a sort of been here done this, lived to tell the tale groove. These parents might still have all the feelings (me again), but they feel comfortable about where their kid is at in their educational journey. No major changes are immediately looming; with each year the young ones seem to become increasingly adept at coping with whatever challenges that school brings and the drama that unfolds amongst their friend group. But this is still life in the parenthood, so whatever chill you might be facing the new school year with, you know you’ve still got to be on your toes.

And then, there is a special sub-set of parents. The didn’t we cross the finish line? group. Oh yes, parents of the college-bound. These parents are certainly familiar with the conflicting emotions. They have entered that unique parenting territory of figuring out what parenting a freshly minted adult looks and sounds like, and comes complete with the matching baggage set of: did we properly fill the toolbox? Are they ready to semi- stand on their own?

No matter where you’re at in the back to school part of your parenting journey, here’s wishing you and the kids an incredible year with minimal bumps in the road. 

Originally printed in the August 2019 issue of Simply Family Magazine

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