Expert Support for Parenting Your Teen or Young Adult
September 2023 Newsletter
Back-to-School Season

Even if your teen or young adult is not in school, the feeling of “back-to-school” seems to permeate our culture. The excitement of a fresh start, the saying goodbye to summer, the smell of fresh school supplies. (Don't tell me I am the only one with such fond memories of going to a real life brick and mortar store to buy a new Trapper Keeper or picking out those incredibly loud Lisa Frank folders.)
But along with that back-to-school feeling can come a lot of other emotions. Stress at seeing friends again. Anxiety about the academic pressure. Fear about everything from sports teams to body image distress to college plans to social life seems to increase as teens and young adults move through this time of year. Adolescents are struggling this month. It feels like a lot- whether it is freshman year of college, getting back into the groove with assignments or juggling after-school commitments, family, friends and their mental health. 
Especially if your child struggles with putting pressure on themselves, as so many do, this can be an intense time of year. 
So what can you do- as a parent, caregiver or provider- to support them?
First of all, as we always start, notice what is coming up for you
Do you feel like it is silly they are so stressed- I mean, it is just math homework after all, what is the big deal?
Or, alternately, do you feel really wound up about their school, sports, friends, college- maybe because they seem too chill about it? 
Is there a feeling of failure as a parent if your kid isn't doing well in school or is struggling with getting up in the morning? 
Layer on a mental health issue, and this can be a pressure cooker. For you and your child.
All of these are really normal (and loving!) responses AND we want to be aware of how our own stuff may be showing up in our expectations and support of our kids. It is only natural to bring our own stories to this part of their lives (I mean, I was a school DORK- I just got nostalgic about Trapper Keepers!) and, whether it is because it is so similar or so different, their experience with this time of year can kick stuff up for us. 
Take stock of what you are bringing to the table when you kid is struggle, be aware of it, and try to center yourself in their experience. To show up with empathy for our kids' struggles, it is equal parts recalling those feelings in ourselves and using our imagination to put ourselves in their shoes. 
I have some great resources below if you are feeling stuck and, as always, don't hesitate to reach out with any questions!  
All the best,