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My Kids Are All in School….Now What?

It’s a story I hear about all of the time in my personal and professional life. “My last child is going to kindergarten, or first grade. Yay!! I’m going to have so much more time for other things!” And inevitably, a month later, I hear a very different story. “I don’t quite know who I am anymore. Or what I want to do with my time.” A lot of these women have been stay at home mothers, or work part time, while they have young children. Once the children are in school, their life changes quite drastically. They have more time to focus on themselves and their own interests. While this sounds like a time of liberation, a lot of women find it to be a time of high anxiety. 

For years, society has taught women that their primary, and sometimes only, role is to be a mother. Whether you subscribe to this mentality or not, it is very present in our society. Therefore, a lot of women take that role on as their only sense of self. As a mother, sometimes I find myself getting lost in child rearing. I have to remind myself that while I love being a mother and it is important to me, I can still have interests and passions outside of that realm.  This realization comes to light quickly when all of your children are attending school full time. So, to all of the mothers who are sending their youngest off to kindergarten/first grade, or to the mothers of young children that need to revisit who they are I challenge you to answer the following five questions.

  1. What do I like to do for fun?
  2. What do I do for self care that reenergizes me?
  3. What relationships would I like to strengthen?
  4. Do I want to go back to work, or work more?
  5. Other than being a mom what do I want to be known for in my life?

These questions can help guide you to some career choices, as well as just things you can do for yourself when you have the time. If you are having a difficult time defining who you are, and who you want to become in the future come into therapy. Working with women to find their inner strength is something I love to do! Good luck as your kiddos head off to school.  I’ll be at Wasatch Family Therapy with lots of congratulations and the tissues. 

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Kids Social Skills Group

This 8 week group is designed to help school-aged children navigate the challenges of social situations and understand what it means to be a friend. Focusing on understanding their role and impact on those in their world.

  • Making and keeping friends
  • Increase self-esteem
  • Discover skills for coping with anxiety
  • Strengthen Social Skills
  • How to manage emotions such as anger
  • Dealing with Bullies

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School Daze

 
As a Mom of 5 school aged children, I remember that feeling of ELATION when my last child graduated from high school. My homework was finally complete!  During those 20 plus years, I now realize that, with good intent, I spent a fair amount of time hovering over my children “paying extremely close attention to their experiences and problems particularly at educational institutions”, much like a “helicopter parent.”
 
I have since discovered that the line between being a supportive parent and a hovering helicopter can be blurry, according to Malinda Carlson who authored the article “10 Warning Signs that You Might Be a Helicopter Parent (and How to Stop). Malinda states that “Nobody sets out to be a helicopter parent; it kind of creeps up on you.”
 
So… How can you avoid being a full time “helicopter parent?”
 
Listen to your child.  Refrain from imposing your goals and wishes upon them.
 
Don’t try to help your child escape consequences for their actions unless you believe they are life altering or unfair. 
 
Encourage your children to solve their own problems by asking them to think about possible solutions.
 
Don’t do your children’s work for them or completely relieve them from the responsibility of keeping track of deadlines.  
 
Support your child’s teacher and encourage your child to respect the teachers opinions.
 
Allow your child to face natural consequences for their actions.
 
Don’t complete tasks that your child is capable of completing for themselves.
 
Let go of negative thoughts about your child’s future
 
Don’t micromanage your child’s life.
 
Avoid constantly worrying about your children.
 
Give them the opportunity to take small risks.
 
Take a few steps back and and give them some space.  
 
Some studies show that children who are hovered over by a “helicopter parent” were more likely to feel “self-conscious, worried, angry and have a poor sense of self esteem.”  However, other studies show that helicopter parenting can:
 
Help parents to know if the child is safe.
 
Assist the child to be less likely to misbehave and develop into a well mannered person.
 
Help develop a special bond between the child and the parent.
 
Help the child develop a better attitude towards life. 
 
So… It’s up to you as parents to determine what style of parenting works well you and your children.
 
If you would like to take a closer look at your style of parenting, call and make an appointment with me.
 
Happy parenting
 
Sue Hodges
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Wasatch Family therapy
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