Now is the Time Share +

Posted by: coronadosafe 5 years, 1 month ago

Oct. 2014

With school back in session many parents breath sighs of relief. The structure dictated by academic schedules can be oddly comforting in spite of what can seem like an endless round of hectic morning races to get out the door in time. As families transition into this new daily schedule, it is important to recognize that now is the time to create routines that will bring you closer together. For one, all new routines are easier to sustain during clear marked transitions like the start of a school year. Secondly, as children travel further away from parents’ purview and spend more time at school with their peers, sustained loving connections become more important than ever.

A major developmental job of every child is to cultivate good peer relations and a healthy sense of self. But psychologists are finding that today’s youth are over-identifying with their peers and consequently, creating a sense of self on very shaky ground. Almost anyone with a teenager can validate this as fact. But most are unaware that this is a relatively new cultural phenomenon. Prior to the second World War child-rearing was considered a community job. Grandparents, parents, and neighbors lived in close physical and emotional proximity. This environment gave children the golden opportunity to develop any number of safe, loving, emotional attachments with mature adults that fostered their sense of belonging and gave them that strong wise, healthy sense of self.

Raising a child in modern times proves the story unfolds a little differently. Rarely do we have the help of grandparents, neighbors or friends, in the daily childcare struggles or upkeep of the home. Our fast paced lives leave us running to and fro, with just enough time for a quick dinner, more homework, and then off to bed. In all of our busy-ness, children experience emotional distance from their adult caregivers and desperate to form strong emotional attachments they are innately drawn to those most available. Since children spend the majority of their waking hours at school, it’s easy to see how the pendulum has shifted over time. 

Children’s over-identification with peers may not seem like that big of a deal. However, if you recall being a child, you will remember that you and your friends may not have had the ‘best’ or ‘safest’ ideas around. When children over-identify with their peers, they are prone to making immature peer-led decisions and in valuing their friends they push their parents further away. If this pattern continues, by the time a child becomes an adolescent the emotional distance can feel like the deepest, darkest chasm, impossible to get through.

Every parent that I have ever met wants their children to avoid making the kinds of decisions that would put them in harm’s way. To find success in this heartfelt desire, our children must be willing to follow the advice their parents or other caring, mature, adults. This is not a process that happens automatically. Rather, children respect the advice of their elders when they have a strong relationship built with them over time. 

Now is the time to slow down and decide what really matters. Now is the time to drop what you are doing and commit to new routines. Committing these new family rituals gives your kids a sense of consistency apart from the hectic lifestyles they live outside of your doors. Like frequent deposits into a bank account, what you give in now pay dividends with interest in the end. For it is in holding them close now that you build the foundations for a strong, healthy life with them to come. 

For ideas on creating new family routines, visit us on the web at www.coronadsafe.org or contact Andrea Webster at Coronado SAFE, andrea.webster@coronadosafe.org or call 619-522-6884.