Happy New [School] Year & Welcome (Back)! To say that the beginning of a new academic year is my favorite time of year is an understatement! For me, there is very little that compares to the feeling of freshly prepared classrooms, recharged teachers, and students returning to the Academy. It is also a great opportunity to start fresh and begin anew — routines can be reset, new habits can develop, and fresh mindsets can be adopted.
Below are some helpful perspectives for parents to consider as we begin the 2018-19 academic year — a list of New [School] Year Resolutions, of sorts. I wish I could take credit for such wisdom, but all should be directed to Dr. Madeline Levine, who is a practicing psychologist in California and author of four books, including the New York Times best sellers “The Price of Privilege” and “Teach Your Children Well.” She is also the co-founder of Challenge Success, a project of the Stanford Graduate School of Education.
This specific piece of text appeared on Dr. Levine’s blog:
- I will not do for my child what he can do for himself.
This kills motivation and the ability to innovate. Both are missing from too many young people in today’s workforce.
- I will not do for my child what she can almost do for herself.
At one time your child could almost walk. Now she can walk. Enough said.
- I will love the child in front of me.
Appreciate and be thankful for your child’s unique gifts. Children are talented in a multitude of different ways. See your child’s particular talents clearly.
- I will not push my child to be perfect.
Beside genetics, perfectionism is the strongest predictor of clinical depression. Life is full of mistakes, imperfect days, and human failings. Kids need to learn how to cope with these inevitabilities. They (and you) need to be able to feel happiness and gratitude in face of imperfection.
- I will honor the importance of PDF (Playtime, Downtime, and Family Time).
Don’t over-schedule. Kids need time to play, daydream, and just hang out. It’s in these precious “between” times that crucial development tasks are accomplished.
- I will make sure my child gets a full night’s sleep.
Kids need between nine and 11 hours a night. Sleep deprivation impairs concentration, memory, and the ability to accurately read emotional cues. It makes kids crabby and compromises their ability to learn.
- I will remember that I am a parent, not a CEO.
Results are down the line, not at the end of the quarter. This means the occasional “B” or “C” will not break your child’s future progress. Stop catastrophizing. You won’t see the final fruits of your parenting until your child is grown and gone.
- I will value my own (adult) life.
Being a happy, fulfilled, and yes, grateful adult makes you a better parent. It’s one of the best gifts you can give your child. It makes adulthood look like something worth striving for.
- I will not confuse my needs with my child’s needs.
This is the most toxic manifestation of over-parenting. Get a hobby or a therapist instead.
- I will remember the success trajectory is a squiggle…not a straight line.
Few of us become successful by simply putting one foot in front of the other. Most of us encounter a multitude of twists, turns, direction changes, and stops on the way to our goals.
As seems to be true with most New Year resolutions — the traditional kind or the new-school-year variety — when they are freshly made, it is easy to adhere to them, but over time, commitment wanes. If you do choose to commit to one, some, or all of these resolutions, finding ways to keep them fresh is useful to increase the likelihood of sticking to them. Do what’s best for you, but I, myself, keep them posted in my kitchen.
Here’s to a great academic year! I look forward to celebrating all the growth your student will experience over the next 10 months.
Learn more about Harrisburg Academy on our school website.