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Editorial: New Beginnings

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Ahh the beginning of another school year! What adventures and new growth these days can bring to all.

As a student, you start with a new beginning to make changes, grow and learn new things. By the end of that first day, you have learned who your teacher is, the class goals and who is in your class. The rules are different as you grow up and go into the next grade. They are more challenging and the world expects more out of you. It is a new chance to make new friends while keeping the old. I personally remember how scary all of this can be.

For a parent, it is a new beginning to help your child maneuver through the ups and downs of a new grade, new friends, and how to help them achieve goals – and reach for new ones that your child did not see before. It is also a time to reassure them of their unique qualities, strengths and that they are amazing individuals. You don’t want that tampered with, just enhanced.

My child is in 4th grade. Times have changed since I was at Coleman in 4th grade. Not all for the good.

What makes me nervous is the need to have those conversations about drugs and alcohol. Maybe I was naive back then and too busy to be aware of any issues with my friends. Kids all around the country are getting into drugs and alcohol younger and younger. Parents are not blameless. They need to keep their eyes and ears open for changes in their child’s life.

A lot of parents today are “helicopter” or “lawnmower” moms and dads. These types of parents coddle their children so much that they don’t know how to make decisions on their own. These types of parents play a  significant role in kids making poor choices.

I’ve witnessed these types of parents telling their kids what to choose and do – including kids younger than mine. When some of these kids are given a choice, they’ll do what their friends do, or what sounds good. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good choice.

What can make the difference? Parents being active in kids’ lives and not busy trying to be their best friends. Especially in elementary school and high school, parents need to hear and see what is going on. They have to be strong role models.

Circling back to the new school year being a great time for new beginnings, ask yourself – when you were a kid did you bike / walk everywhere? Did you scrape your knee and just brush it off? Do you remember riding to your friend’s house alone to play for hours?

If you remember days like that … just being a kid … take a look at how you are with your kids. Do they go off and entertain themselves with some friends? Do they want to ride to the pool or downtown to see their friends? If so, congrats – you have the beginnings of an independent kid. If not, maybe take the first week of school to look at making some changes so your child will flourish in today’s world – on their own.

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