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Are parents ready for the school year?

L’Observateur / August 19, 1998

For months now, parents all over have been preparing their children for the start of the new school term. However, are parents themselves ready?There’s much to be considered for parents to be adequately prepared to handle a new school year – changes in their daily lives and behavior, attitudes to adjust and getting themselves in the proper frame of mind.

There are the usual precautions to be made by people with the new school year now under way. We must watch out for school buses and for childrenheaded for those buses in the mornings and afternoons. We must also beready for those children once they arrive home and release that pent-up energy in neighborhood play.

However, we must also realize our children need us, often at the most inconvenient times. They may need to contact us for illness or injury orbecause they forgot their homework. They may, at times, try our patiencebut we must recall that our lives are for our children.

They will need our help, not only with homework, but also with making those ethical and moral decisions which will help guide the rest of their lives. They need our example to live by, since they see us every day anddraw much of their own characters from our own.

If a child needs to talk, we need to listen. It’s not just shouting out, “Howwas your day?” and then ignoring any answer. It’s really listening to theirproblems, however silly or childish they may seem. That paves the way forthem to come to you with the big problems, such as peer pressure towards drugs, smoking and sex.

Our children need discipline and really want it. Not hate-filled violentdiscipline, but guidance in making those decisions based on love, mutual caring and even allowing them to make some small mistakes so they can learn to deal with the consequences of those mistakes.

Along those lines, parents, we need to clean up our own acts. It does nogood to tell your child not to smoke or drink or do drugs when you do it yourself. The old line, “Do what I say, not what I do,” simply does notwork. If a child knows you love them and care about them, they will loveyou and care about what you say to them.

A child needs someone they can respect. Along those lines, we need towatch our own personal behavior and not do anything to bring shame and disgrace upon our children. If they do not find someone to respect at home,they may find that person outside the home and it may not be a person they should be respecting.

Above all, a child needs love. They grow and thrive on love and develop as acomplete human being with love. They learn to love and respectthemselves and to love and respect others. They learn to become goodcitizens and concerned and involved in their communities. They are eagerto learn and to make their teachers, parents and friends proud of them.

They want to do good. We need to make it easy for them to do so.As the new school year begins, we need to make a “new year’s resolution” to be better parents. With that background of good parenting at home, achild can achieve anything, and we owe our children every chance.

Copyright © 1998, Wick Communications, Inc.

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