Written by Tammy Swanson
Edited by Janet Christensen
“The fires are out, and everything is back to normal.” In November, you may have hoped this statement was true, but I’m sure you slowly began to realize that there were still many things that were still either totally wrong, or just subtly out of sync. You weren’t (and aren’t) the only one feeling this way. Your kids have noticed your stresses, and are carrying their own. And they may not know their anxieties are linked to the fires or how to handle these new, random-seeming anxieties. Sometimes children put on a good face for their parents, even though they are covering unexpected deficits or difficulties in their studies or their social interactions at school. They may lash-out when confronted, or become more quiet than usual. Here are some things to look for and some ways to help.
Behind the Curtain
Being cooped up in the house for 2-3 weeks probably made everyone feel more than ready to get back to school and “some sense of normalcy”. But, as you may have noticed in yourself post-fires, the young people in your life are probably going through a lot more mood swings than usual, having greater trouble focusing on conversations and in their class discussions, and working a lot harder while being less successful (for example – staying up late studying, but earning lower grades than usual). They’ve been through all the fear and worry with you, but it has been tempered by less wisdom and experience. They do not have the same ability you do to see the big picture: when bad events happen, they may feel the need to be superheroes to be successful again. They may still be judging themselves by pre-October 2017 standards. It may be time for a family discussion about new January-June 2018 expectations.
Be Encouraging When Engaged.
If you’ve got teenagers, they may still be put off by unsolicited praise. J But, if your kids come to you with the results of an exam or a competition, give high praise for a slightly lower result than you might have before the fires. Maybe A-/B+ or 2 goals per game was the norm. Now, B-/C+ or assisting a teammate might deserve the previous reward. If homework used to be completed without effort but now seems to take a while, maybe a private tutor can assist with both education and peace of mind. A private tutor can also help you and your student get the day’s work done earlier, and then get the sleep you each need so you can be even more successful tomorrow! I have had many clients tell me that their relationship with their student improved exponentially when they stopped policing homework and exams. I’m sure there is a solid psychological reason why students separate their parents’ understanding of school and the requirements of the classroom from their own reality and experiences. “You can’t possibly understand!”…right? Even though you’ve been through all their classes and made all their decisions, it’s different today. At least for them. At Sonomarin Tutoring, our private tutors step in as a neutral third party who knows all the math or history or English, and what is going on in the classroom. We have classroom experience, so we know “where all this leads.” And our students respect that. We can help your student navigate the already difficult world of high school or middle school, especially now that, even though the smoke has cleared, it all still feels a little hazy.
Ask for Help to Be Reassured.
Your child’s teachers, school counselor, and private tutor are here to help you each and every time you need them. Use these services. Ask for help. You will be a better parent to your child when you are using all the resources at your disposal and feeling reassured. Also, know that colleges, and SAT/ACT boards know what has happened in Sonoma and Napa counties. They have given various allowances that your school counselors can explain further. Your student high school student has already been informed, but, if there is confusion or anxiety about the details or results, ask. Your school administrators are there to help.
For More Information
If you need more information about school business or are worried about your student, contact your school’s administrators or counselor.
If you think your student could benefit from a private tutor, go to www.SonomarinTutoring.com and check out our reviews on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SonomarinTutoring.
Janet brings a love of cultures, language, and words to her teaching and tutoring. Formerly a high school English teacher, she has taught ESL and English Composition at several Bay Area universities, including UC Berkeley, University of San Francisco, ECIW at Mills College, and CSU East Bay, as well as in Japan and Kazakhstan. Janet has been tutoring high school, college, and postgraduate students for over 20 years, specializing in developing critical thinking, writing skills, college and graduate school application essay writing, and language skills for non-native speakers.