It seems like yesterday we had our first day at primary school, now its first day at ‘Big School’. Thankfully the BBC Sitcoms, Bad Education and Big School, don’t reflect the school my son is going to, but like most parents you can’t help worry seeing programmes like Educating Essex and Educating Yorkshire!
The change is an important one and my job working as a Sports Scientist doing Psychological Support often involves helping people deal with transitions. This move is often a time a child reinvents themselves, redefine themselves, starting new activities and stopping old ones.
It is here that as parents we have to step back. We may create false expectations…. From “you’ll have fun and make friends quickly” to “you’re going to be the best player in the year”. We may create a situation where we expect them to carry on playing football for instance but our child may want to try rugby or hockey, and they feel they may let us down.
Research shows that those children who do well in transitions have support from their family; this could be supporting the extra homework, taking them to events, helping them develop as independent young adults, but also supporting them making independent choices.
The transition and change of roles can be awkward for our children, but also for us. As parents our roles change, and what our children want from us changes, from not hugging you as you drop them off, to waiting outside the school at pick up….or even around the corner. We develop as parents as our children grow but our roles change and we need to appreciate how it affects us.
I am looking forward to my son growing up doing things he wants, but not to becoming a taxi driver who is just about transporting my child from one place to another. It is my fears that worry me in supporting my child, for instance as he gets busier with friends I know my contact weekends may become more about juggling their arrangements rather than focusing on our relationships and doing things together. With a 6 year old and an 11 year old it’s trying to have time to be with them equally not one dictating the nature of the day for the other.
I will work through it but I also know I need to put my child’s needs first and I know that change is coming… but for now I am smiling at my son in a blazer which is too big, a shirt with the creases still on it and a tie and hair that just won’t stay in place and I am proud because I see him becoming a young adult. And I am Proud!!
Till Next time
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