Proactive Parenting

Did Your Child Get a Space at the School You Wanted?

Yippee School Admissions Time!

It’s that time of year when, we discover if our little ones have got a place in the preferred school, we’ve chosen for them.

As I chatted to a friend at the school gates last week, who was devastated her child didn’t get into the primary school his siblings attended, I felt her pain.

I remember that dreaded anticipation myself many years ago!

Would my first born get a space in the School, I perceived to be the best in the area we lived in at that time?

Oh, the joy when I finally received that letter telling us she had got a place.

Off we went excitedly to buy her new school uniform. Such a proud first moment was her first day at school.

Then I had to relive all that stress, anxiety and worry once again two years later, when my Sons turn came to find out if he had a place?

The sleepless nights and despair I felt when I discovered that the catchment area boundaries had changed, and a new Welsh School which was opened within twenty feet of our house, threatened his place in his Sisters school, which we all loved because, I hate to honestly admit it, but all the parents seemed affluent and the learning league table for results was high.

On top of that, the school was rated a green for very good. The rating system was based on four colour coded categories; green, yellow, amber and red, this colour coding was to demonstrate how much support the schools needed. But relying on that colour system would have been pointless because that all soon changed anyway, as the School colours slipped down when the headteacher changed, something not too uncommon for lots of schools.

Again, the relief, when I received that letter saying my Son had a place in his Sisters school was exhilarating.

I wanted to throw a ‘Thank Goodness Party!’

DOUBTS FEARS & TEARS

Yet looking back, there was no reason to celebrate, and all that stress, worry and anxiety was for nothing, as I removed my children half way through primary school, from that much sought- after, Welsh Medium School, to an English Medium School, (nothing to do with the language may I add).

Initially when I chose the Welsh School, I was happy with that decision.  A few years later that decision no longer felt like the right thing for my children, leaving me to make the proactive decision of changing their schools.

A lot of parents felt the same way as me at the time, and also wanted to remove their children, but they didn’t as they were fearful how it would affect them.

I on the other hand feared how keeping my children in their current school would affect them?

But it was a decision I needed help with, so I proactively involved my children in the decision-making process, every step of the way.

This took a lot of the pressure off me to make the decision and gave them a choice.

My Daughter was keen to change schools, my Son however, was not so keen.

I asked them both to individually list the pros and cons for staying in their old school and moving to the new school. This was discussed verbally, then I drew up a pros and cons list (putting it in writing helped us all to physically see the outcome.) Both children had more pros for moving and more cons for staying put.


list the pros and cons

The decision was made instantly based on those lists.

I didn’t dwell on it or give them time to worry about the consequences, I took immediate action and within a week, they had both moved to a new school.

Today they are now in High School, but they have never regretted moving schools and the only affects it had on them at the time, were positive.

They’ve made great best friends that otherwise they would never have met and are both confident and sociable, and despite joining a new school mid-way through their primary years, their academic ability has soared. 

Children are much more resilient than we give them credit for, it’s us as parents that have the doubts, fears and tears, not our children.

PARENTAL INTUITION

The initial idea to change schools came from my own parental intuition. I could have taken the easy option and ignored what I felt. I could have found many excuses to keep them in their old school but that would have kept me reactive as a parent, not proactive.

I probably would have been complaining to the school over issues that I was unhappy with for years, and would have always wondered, what if they had gone to a different school? 

Proactivity quashes regrets before they fester.

Feeling confident to take -action, comes from that parental intuition that we all have, which arises from knowing and loving our children. 

This insight is invaluable to tune into, as it helps us to know how our children will respond to certain people, events, or situations in advance. This gives us time to take the necessary steps, in order to avoid situations turning out undesirably.

Fortunately, this proactive approach arising from instinct or intuition, is something we naturally do as parents, most of the time anyway.

Although my Husband and I made the right choice in moving our children to a different school, and both of our children excelled in their new school, none of us regret them having gone to the old school.

My children made some great friends there (as did I, I’m still friends with some fab parents from their old primary school today)

And my children also learnt how to speak Welsh fluently at a young age (which I’ve no doubt is the reason they do so well in this subject now, as its now a compulsory GCSE subject in my Children’s English Medium High School.)

In addition, my children learnt how to change and adapt to new circumstances, build on their self- confidence and form new relationships, all invaluable skills to learn at a young age.

ACCEPTANCE

We all learn from experimentation and experience.

That’s why nothing happens in vain. When we view any experience, circumstance or relationship this way, we free ourselves from worry, stress and anxiety. Its all a learning opportunity. This helps us to accept what is, even if what is, isn’t what we want!

As parent’s, we need to accept that we won’t always make the right choices or decisions all of the time. And that’s ok, because we can, and will learn from all of them, good or bad along the way.

As long as we keep moving, we will make progress and rid ourselves of paralysis by analysis. By doing what we can, we can feel confident in the knowledge that we are always doing our best.


Its all a learning opportunity.

We will then be free to relax knowing that, we cannot control everything that happens to our children.

And this is a good thing, because we cannot learn everything for them, there will be times when they will have to learn for themselves, often the hard way.

Therefore, the most proactive thing that we can all do as parents, is to decide today to stop worrying about our children’s; behaviour, education, health, happiness, safety, success or whatever else is worrying us at the moment, and take- action to do something about it.

If its out of our control and we can’t do anything about the outcome or circumstances, as in the case of not getting a space at a preferred school for our child, then acceptance is the only choice we really have. This means letting go of the illusions of how perfect that school would have been, and how our children have lost out. There’s no loss, as they never had that space to begin with. There’s no loss, as there are alternatives, and alas, other schools that could end up being just as good, if not even better in the long run?

We can only do the best we can do, at any given moment in time, with the knowledge, experiences and resources we have at that time.

Circumstances change and so do we.

My priorities and perspective on my childrens initial primary school changed. So did the influential people at that school, and the school’s performance and colour coding. Had I known all that years ago, then I wouldn’t have worried for a second whether my children got a space at that school or not?

You may be experiencing joy and exhilaration, as you open that envelop that says your child has a place at your preferred school?

Or you may have doubts, fears and tears, as you hear your child has not been accepted?

But fear not, things are not always as bad as they seem. And years from now, like me, you may look back with relief, that actually, what you thought your child was denied, was in fact the best thing that could have happened?

Stay Present,

Em x

Advertisements
Uncategorized

THE WORRY BUSTER

You feeling blue too?

Two weeks into the New Year and all I’ve heard this week from friends, family and associates, is how low everyone is feeling.

No one is immune to worry.

We all at some time, fear the future, ruminate on the past and spend endless, sleepless nights, catastrophising. The dark of the night seems to magnify issues to monstrous proportions.

Even when there’s nothing to worry about, it worries us, and we think that something must be wrong?

I’ve been there many times.

And it feels like there’s nothing we can do, as problems paralyse us from taking any action. This condition is known as paralysis by analysis. It’s when we become plagued with indecision and get caught up in a state of over thinking an issue.

Then instead of dealing with it, we worry about it!

Parenting is a ‘Worrying Business’

And as parents there’s not only ourselves to worry about.

When it comes to our children, we can worry about everything and anything. As we deliberate on what they should eat, how to deal with their unwanted behaviour and how they are progressing at school?

And all of this responsibility can weigh heavy on us. Especially if we feel over whelming pressure from others, such as teachers or spouses, adding to the problem itself

 This can become a constant source of stress, as we feel we must instantly sort everything out, the right way.

This pressure makes it difficult to see the wood from the trees, leaving decision making impossible. But taking decisive action and doing something, even if that action is not the right action to take, sets the solutions to problems in motion.

When we put ourselves out there, answers find us.

When we procrastinate or are fearful of making the wrong choices, and take no action to solve an issue, this leads to a lack of confidence in our own parenting abilities, preventing us from finding solutions.

TAKING ACTION

The only solution is proactively taking action to prevent or deal with problems, rather than Auto Pilot Parent when things go wrong.

This empowers us to handle situations, as well as our children’s behaviour.

 However, taking a proactive approach can also mean stepping back and away from the problem itself.

When we are less involved in the emotional side, we can start to narrow down a couple of options that we could take. Then take assertive action.

For example, we may find ourselves deliberating over several possible schools that we could send our children to. When faced with such an important decision, choosing the right school could seem more daunting than it really is.

Once we can relax, step back and think clearly, the decision usually rests on only one of two possibilities. And that’s the way with most problems.

It’s having the clarity to narrow things down. Knowing that even if we make a wrong choice, we can feel reassured that we can always change course if we are going in the wrong direction.

Being proactive eliminates doubt.

Even if it turns out we were wrong, that’s better than not taking action and never knowing, allowing others to take the lead.

What we find when we take this approach is that, we can never really make a wrong decision anyway, just a different one.

As parent’s, we need to accept that we won’t always make the right choices or decisions all of the time.

That’s ok, because good or bad, we can, and will learn from all of them.

As long as we keep moving, we will make progress, and rid ourselves of this paralysis by analysis.

And by doing what we can, we can feel confident in the knowledge that we are always doing our best.

We will then be free to relax knowing that, we cannot control everything that happens.

But the most proactive thing we can all do as parents, is to stop worrying about our children’s; behaviour, education, health, happiness, safety, success or whatever else is worrying us at the moment, and take- action to do something about it.

Start today by doing the following ‘Worry Busting’ Exercise.

This simple technique helps us to gain a clearer perspective, alleviating a certain degree of worry straight away. Focusing more on solutions rather than problems.

THE WORRY BUSTER TECHNIQUE

  • First think about something that is worrying you at this moment regarding your child.
  • Now write down all the reasons why it is worrying you? Note how worrying about it has helped the situation or how it has made it worse?
  • Then work out how long you have been worrying about it for?
  • Now, decide how much longer you want to keep on worrying about it?
  • Next write a list of all the possible ways that you can try to help solve the problem, or at least make it less of a worry. Brainstorm as many ideas as you can think of, regardless how unrealistic they sound at first.
  • Now choose one way that you can take- action on the problem today.
  • Finally, go and take some action and do something to change the situation now.

Can’t find a solution right now?

Then just decide to relax and step back, and accept the way things are for now.

Clear your mind of the problem, and do something else until a solution comes to mind. Busy yourself with chores or exercise, and let the solution bubble away in the back of your mind, unhindered by you.

You’ve proactively looked at the issue by doing the ‘Worry Busting Technique’. 

Now the only thing you can change, is to stop worrying about something you cannot change. If there is nothing you can do about it, then why waste time and energy worrying?

Worrying will not help or change anything.

After all, most of what we worry about never actually happens anyway. Rest assured, if we are doing all that we can do right now, then there is no need to worry about anything else.

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Photo by James Wheeler on Unsplash

Photo by conner bowe on Unsplash

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Photo by Ben Blennerhassett on Unsplash