A break from school is merely a sticking plaster. A quick break before you plunge your child back into the pressure of school.
Given that we can’t change the school system and only the way we respond to it, wouldn’t it make more sense to take steps to prepare and equip your child to deal with stress?
I call this emotional resilience.
How are you helping your child strengthen that muscle to prepare them for life?
Or are you protecting from it because you can’t bare to see them in pain?
Think of it this way: every time your child thinks about or talks about school it’s like dropping a brick on their head.
Dong! Ouch! It’s painful for your child. You child feels the pain of the struggle. Your child tells you: I don’t like school, it’s too hard. School is boring! (Yep I hear you. I didn’t like school either).
You promise your child a fun filled school holiday and protect them from their pain. You wrap them in cotton wool, buy them treats and give them a school holiday to remember. They love you. They love the school holidays….BUT
They still don’t like school. Dong! Ouch!
When the new school terms starts you send your child back to school where they are in pain again. The brick has fallen on their head. Only this time they don’t have any protection. You aren’t there. The school holiday is finished. They won’t know how to deal with the bricks or how to use their innate survival to dodge them. They have no boundaries to keep them safe, are reliant on you to make it all better. They don’t know that they can learn from their pain and use it to propel them forward.
Last week a Mum contacted me because her son was struggling at school.
He was totes miserable, not wanting to go in. He wasn’t sleeping and he cried a lot. He felt lonely and scared. We talked on messenger about booking a Speak to Smiley Skype call to help him offload his feelings and gain a different perspective. Maybe give him some quick and easy tools to help him make it through the day.
This happens to me ALL THE TIME. Like going on a first date and thinking that it’s all going so well …BUT TUMBLEWEED.
I let it ride for a week and then I sent a quick message to ask if this little boy was OK and to say that I was ready for our Skype call to help him whenever he was.
In my mind I was thinking that the additional time and space the summer was providing us was IDEAL to get to the heart of the matter.
Guess what happened? Yep. The emergency was no longer an emergency.
‘Oh he’s fine now. He’s broken up from school and much happier. We’ve got lots of lovely plans with our friends to look forward to.’
- Does this child feel truly better? Nope. He’s distracting himself with the summer fun and hoping it will go away. He’s still carrying all the scareds from that traumatic experience.
- Will the problem still be there when he returns to school ? Yep. We can’t just change our external circumstances and hope for the best, we need to look at how we can change our response to them.
- Will the problem be worse? Possibly because he’s not processed and worked out a way of how to approach it.
- Will the fun summer holidays make it better? Nope. Fun helps but it does not release the big scary feelings or the trauma.
How do I know this? Because I had the most wonderful holidays growing up – Disney, 6 weeks in a second holiday home in Spain, new clothes, new toys, playdates, BBQs, days out, ice creams….BUT as an adult I have layers of trauma in my body. We call this complex trauma which comes from adverse childhood experiences.
I’m not being a party pooper. I’m all for a magical fun filled childhood. We”re all entitled to down time and fun BUT this doesn’t help us if we are avoiding something which needs our attention.
Why does this happen?
PRIORITIES. Priorities change depending on what is IMPORTANT to you. If you’re constantly reacting in that way to emergencies, your priorities will always be dictated to you by other people and by life. Are you reacting to your child’s priorities or your own? Your child will always choose the other stuff over everything!!!! Life is happening to you.
How do you take back the control?
OK, so let’s have a think about this…..
How do you prioritise what is important for your family during the longest holiday of the year when you are footloose and school free?
Fun? Treats? Family Time? Memories? Relaxation? Connection?
- Where in your list of priorities do you place your child’s emotional wellbeing?
- Why does it not come to the top of your list?
- What is more of a priority to you right now and why?
All the fun in the world CANNOT give your child more emotional resilience and the tools to equip them for life. When all is said and done, they will remember these magical moments for years to come, but what truly matters most? If you aren’t sure, take my free test here.
For those of you still reading and interested in how you can do it differently….
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