A message for your child:

Here’s the really good news: Stress is just a feeling, and feelings are caused by thoughts, so all you have to do to not feel stress is change your thought.

Ta daaaaaa!

OK, easier said than done.
Let me break it down for you.

 

These are thoughts about things you think should be going a different way.

Your thought might be, “I might not fit in”
Or, “I’m going to miss home.”
Or, “This is too hard.”
Or, “I don’t know what to do.”

These are thoughts about things you think should be going a different way.

You think the problem is that you might not fit in, or it’s going to be hard, or you might miss home or you don’t know what to do.

But it isn’t.

The real problem is that you don’t want the feeling that goes with those thoughts.

You want to stop feeling so stressed.
It seems like you need to change something in your life to stop feeling stressed.
But you don’t.

This is your lucky day!
​​​​​​​You don’t have to wait until you are at college and get past this stage to feel better!

Try this:
Instead of thinking, “I might not fit in,” try thinking, “I might fit in.”
Explore that thought.
How might you fit in?
How might you make it more likely that you will fit in?
What would it feel like to fit in?

Then check in with your body and see if that eases the stress a little bit.

Look for proof in your life that you have fit in at times when it could have gone either way.
Think about the groups and clubs and friends you have where you feel the feeling of connection.
There is your proof.

This is not about numbing yourself.
It’s not about avoiding thinking the stressful thought.

It’s about exploring the truth of another thought.
A better feeling thought.

Give your brain evidence that there is another truth:
The truth that everything will be OK.

And it will be.
You’ve got this.

As a parent, I want to fix things when my kids are hurting.

I have to remind myself that I want them to go through hard times.
Even when things aren’t fair.

Especially when things aren’t fair.

It’s the times of challenge that breed confidence. You only create confidence by going through something difficult… going through the fire and getting to the other side.

It was that way when your child learned to walk. You didn’t watch him try to walk the first time and when he fell say,

“Well, I guess this one wasn’t a walker. We’ll just carry him the rest of his life so he doesn’t fall again.”

No, you clapped. You squealed. You took pictures.

There is room to be a cheerleader in all of life’s challenges.

You don’t need to squeal when they are teens. I have found a more “cool” way to cheerlead.
I try something like, “Wow. That situation really does suck. But you handled it really well.”

 

 

I know I can fix things for my kids.

But sometimes fixing is really breaking.

Bed head

Breakfast

Doing homework

Setting the table/getting dinner ready

Getting on the bus/in the car for school

Texting

Talking with different members of the family

Sports practice/events

Family games

Where they normally sprawl

Places they like to go

Driving

With their best friend(s)

Favorite food

Pet

Chores

Bedtime (if you are still awake)

 

Take photos of small things (zoom in) like:

Shoes/cleats with globs of soil/worn dance shoes

Clasped hands

Their room

Anything they are known for (a smile, a look, twirling hair, dirty socks, etc.)

 

This list is just a starting point.  Have your camera handy, and shoot away!