A TEACHER’S ADVICE TO PARENTS IN ONE SHORT LIST
According to studies and parents themselves, parenting can make you tired, overwhelmed and anxious. And no wonder. The parent zone includes marinara drizzled onto your new beige carpet, more hours in the car than in your bed and entire mountain ranges of laundry. Plus you are responsible for the health and well being of someone who means more to you than joy itself. My sense is that researchers who study parenting are finding nothing new; exhaustion, occasional (or perpetual) feelings of being overwhelmed and chronic anxiety have plagued parents since basically forever.
But a certain type of anxiety is new. This type of anxiety drives you nuts by asking: am-I-good-enough ? I blame this new, contagious form of anxiety on school. Testing, rigid standards and more testing have ushered in an era of pervasive judgment that has become the new normal. A typical mom worries about whether she is doing a good job and about whether her child is doing a good job. Will a 70 percent grade on a second grade math test lead to a lifetime of poverty? Should I nag my seven year old to study or have I already nagged too much? Kids are on edge too, anxious about whether every single little thing they do is praise worthy.
During the past 22 years while education bureaucrats with misguided theories blew billowing clouds of anxiety across the land, I taught in a small, independent school outside of this worry cloud.
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