From helicopter parents to latch key kids, the parent child dance starts again with the yearly ritual of ‘Back to School.’ Getting back to the routine in late August and September always carries with it the typical conflicts – homework, bedtime, household chores, balancing friendships with school obligations, extracurricular activities and the like. It is a new school year, a fresh start, and everyone, at least, tries to have a positive attitude – “This year is going to be different;” and “Let’s start off on the right foot” are the common refrains.
Yet, all too often, October rolls around and the same old, school-year patterns emerge. Over the years, I’ve referred to this as ” Black October.” Parents begin to get reports of missing assignments and poor test scores. Parents and children begin to have more arguments over responsibility-taking, time management and organizational skills. The child slips into patterns of increased secrecey. The dialogue between parent and child becomes marked by poor communication styles. It’s October and parent’s are now thinking “here we go again,” while the kids have become,year after year, more disengaged and more disheartened with the school process.
It is like clockwork…For the past 25 years or so that I have worked with children and their parents, October means that the high hopes of a good, new year have disappeared. In part, parents are seeking answers to the failure of the back to school ritual. For kids that are motivated and school savvy, black October is usually not an issue. But for many other children, the month of October is a repeat performance of the first signs of school problems.
parentStrategy tip: Don’t wait for Black October to address school issues that have been persitent for years. Parents need to be proactive, firm, and set clear expectations for their children in August. If your child’s learning style required help, guidance and support in the past- Don’t wait for Black Octber to address these issues.