Believe it or not, school is just around the corner. Back to school sales have been going on for several weeks. Letters have arrived in the mail with dates for orientation and enrollment. Children and parents alike have mixed feelings about returning to school. Returning to school can be traumatic for children with challenging behaviors. I always encourage parents to get an early start on monitoring how their child is doing in school. Prevention and early intervention are the keys to success.
The following is a quote from "Trauma-Sensitive Schools Are Better Schools." “Children with toxic stress live their lives in fight, flight (freeze) mode. They respond to the world as a place of constant danger. Their brains are overloaded with stress hormones and unable to function properly, they can’t focus on schoolwork. They fall behind in school or fail to develop healthy relationships with peers or create problems with teachers and principals because they are unable to trust adults. With despair, guilt and frustration pecking away at their psyches, they often find solace in food, alcohol, tobacco, methamphetamines, inappropriate sex, high risk sports, and/or work. They don’t regard these coping methods as problems. They see them as solutions to escape from depression, anxiety, anger, fear, and shame.” You can read this two-part article in its entirety by going to Trauma Sensitive Schools and Trauma Sensitive Schools Part 2. I found this two-part article informative as well as having many useful resources.
The following resource focuses on the very sensitive topic of HOMEWORK. Alfie Kohn, author of The Homework Myth, states “There is absolutely no evidence of any academic benefit from assigning homework in elementary or middle school. For younger students, in fact, there isn’t even a correlation between whether children do homework (or how they do) and any meaningful measure of achievement. Meanwhile, no study has ever substantiated the belief that homework builds character or teaches good study habits.”
Both of these quotes are very powerful statements. They are backed by empirical research. I have included this information in this month’s blog to help empower you as a parent to advocate for your child. My intent is not to be critical of any institution. Information and education bring about change. If your paradigm remains the same, you will continue to get the same or even worse results. Equip yourself with information. Talk to your school about what your child needs. Be firm and assertive. A few minor accommodations and strategies can make a big difference in your child’s school performance.
As you and your child begin the new school year, remember when facing difficult and tough parenting challenges, the peace of God is your comfort. Find a quiet place and release all your concerns, then go and reconnect with your child in love. "Sing for joy, O earth; ... For the Lord has comforted his people." Isaiah 49:13
About the Author: Ken Thom, MS, LPC,* specializes in assisting individuals, families, and children in trauma or distress. A nationally recognized Christian counselor and published author, Ken uses Scripture and Biblical truths along with the Post Institute Stress Model to put love into action to heal relationships.
Ken has over 25 years of experience working with people with alcohol and drug addiction; sexual, physical, and emotional abuse; mood disorders; ADHD and other behavioral disorders; and relationship and marital problems.
A parent and grandparent, in his free time, Ken supports faith-based community efforts, youth and men's ministries at his church, and serves on the Board of Directors for the Academy for Christian Education.
As a recovering alcoholic and drug addict himself, Ken's personal experience allows him to better assist his clients in "Healing Relationships through Love in Action." You can find him on the web at www.kenthomcounseling.com
*Master of Science, Licensed Professional Counselor