The 2020-2021 School Year’s Most Important Lesson
Written by Madeline Vann, NCC, M.Ed. at White Cloud Therapeutic Services
Many of us are approaching this school year with a sinking feeling in the pit of our stomachs and a long list of questions. What are the kids going to learn in this new virtual learning environment? How will they learn? How much support will they need, and how are we going to provide all that, and still do what we need to do?
I get it. So, let’s simplify things a bit. The most important thing your children and teens will learn – and have been learning, since school ended mid-March – is how to cope with these unexpected, challenging times. They are learning that from watching you. (No pressure!)
You are their most influential teacher. Even the kids who seem to be more interested arguing with you or in their video games than you are paying attention and taking notes.
In counseling, we know that children and teens learn how to handle their emotions from the adults around them. So ask yourself – are you and the other adults in your kids’ lives coping in ways you want to see your children cope?
This question can lead to difficult discussions with yourself and your family. You may find that, with honest reflection, the yelling in your household is rooted in your own yelling when you are stressed. You may decide that you don’t really want your children reaching for alcohol or pills at the end of a tough day when they grow up.
You may realize that you have neglected your friends, yet what you hope for your teens is that they have a solid core of really good friends they can lean on. You might look at how you are treated by other adults, or how you treat them, and decide that you want your children to be treated better and to treat others better. You may look at the creative ways you’ve coped with this new world and decide it’s time to make it clearer to your children how creative problem solving is a useful lifelong skill.
You may want to talk to them about what hasn’t worked, and what you can all learn from that. You may look around your house and realize the silence of everyone alone in their own rooms needs to be countered with conscious efforts to reconnect. The list goes on.
No one said this was easy.
And, yes, the academics are important, too. They can learn their math, their reading, their writing, their social studies – all of that – both in the virtual environment and in schools. Ultimately, however, the skill set they can gain from this will be the one you demonstrate.
So if you need a safe, confidential space to learn some new skills for regulating your emotions, managing stress, communicating with your partner, cutting down on substances, getting comfortable with uncertainty and change, overcoming resentment, or just venting, please call.
Even a handful of therapy sessions could be what you need to reorient yourself and your family towards the life you really want. We offer convenient teletherapy sessions, as well as in-person sessions, for individuals, couples, and families at White Cloud Therapeutic Services, LLC, at www.whitecloudtherapy.com or 757-503-7917. Or email me (Madeline Vann, NCC, M.Ed.) or any of the counselors at White Cloud. We take most types of insurance and offer a sliding scale for clients who are self-pay.
Article was written and sponsored by Resident in Counseling Madeline Vann, NCC, M.Ed. at White Cloud Therapeutic Services