When your child is age five and encountering kindergarten, school fear is typical. They don’t want to leave home. They want you with them. It’s the usual “little fish in big pond” anxiety. It might take a few weeks to adjust to another adult disciplining them. It may take some time to deal with different playmates. However, preschool teachers are mostly compassionate. And, a child can always find one good school buddy. But, I am talking about a different kind of fear and anxiety.
Unfortunately, Columbine, Pearl River, Jonesboro, Arkansas and most recently Virginia Tech have introduced mass murder as a horrifying reality in today’s schools. One student getting caught with a gun can scar an entire class. Students are afraid of leaving for school and not coming back home. What can you do to ease those fears? These techniques may assist in lessening your child’s fear of being in school.
1) Reassure them that they are safe. Tell them that their school has procedures set up for any type of emergency. Let them know tragedies such as Columbine, even though horrifying, are extremely rare. Let them know if they are too scared of school, you will accompany them to the building and go to class (if you must) until their fears go away. Potential humiliation from peers (on the last issue) may resolve the problem.
2) Talk to their counselor. Tell your child’s counselor your concerns. Ask them what is being done to keep their school safe. Let the counselor know how dire the situation is.
3) Remind your child to be proactive in their safety. Tell them that reporting suspicious activity, such as hearing threats, drug-dealing and bullying to school authorities is not snitching. Letting your school know about dangerous activity is being good to your school. On several occasions, school shootings happened because students were afraid to “snitch out” the culprits. It’s too late to do anything after people die.
4) Tell your child that you love them. Tell your child “You love them” no matter how high or low they score on a test. Tell your child “You love them” whether or not, they make the football squad. A child’s self-worth should be secure because they are loved by their family. School mates shouldn’t determine a child’s self-worth.
Now that you know a few techniques, I wish you all a happy 2007-2008 school year.