It’s back to school time again, and looking back on my own school history I can definitely remember a fair amount of anxiety mixed in with the excitement of seeing my friends after a long winter break.
Had I known then what I know now, I know that the simple exercise of separating fact and fiction could have had a huge impact on my back-to-school blues. Which is why I share it with you now…
When it comes to judging an event and how we’re going to react to it emotionally, it is definitely time to separate fact from fiction, and to help your kids to get into the habit of doing this too.
Fact: I have to go back to school tomorrow.
Fiction: This term is going to be just as bad as the last one.
Fact: I failed the test.
Fiction: I am a failure.
Fact: I only have one friend at school at the moment.
Fiction: Nobody loves me.
It may seem obvious when we write it out like this, but almost all adults, and the majority of kids are doing this all the time. Stress, negative feelings, bad news, these don’t come from the situation itself but from your interpretation of it. And kids need to learn to reserve judgement on situations and particularly on what other people say about them.
No matter how good a parent you are at home, your kids have to go out to school and into the world where not everyone is as conscious as you about their effect on other people. Kids need to be resilient and judge situations on fact not fiction.
If someone says something nasty about your child, you need to prime your kid to not take it on – to accurately assess it as someone else’s fiction and go with the facts of who they know they are. For example, if one child says to another, as they do, “You are a poophead”, and your child is upset, use this as an opportunity to get them into the habit of assessing the situation by saying, “Are you a poophead? NO. Your friend is probably just upset…
Fact: Your friend called you a poophead.
Fiction: You are a poophead!
This little skill gives kids control over their emotions and reactions in any situation, including the first day back at school.