It’s hard to believe, but school is starting.

I hope it goes well for your kids. But let’s face it, sooner or later, you may pick up a tearful, unhappy child. If so, you may be tempted to overreact.

But before you do, take a breath. Your reaction means a lot. Here’s what NOT to do if school is rough this week for your kids.

This summer, I’m writing a series of short posts featuring one thought, 2 quotes and one question. I call it Encouragement One-2-One. So here’s my encouragement for parents of unhappy, frustrated students.

One Good Thought

Bad weeks provide good opportunities for learning.

Like every mother, I wanted my daughter’s first week of sixth grade to be wonderful. But it wasn’t. When I picked her up after school one day, she burst into tears.

I felt like I had to go and fix it. Right. Then. Torrents of anger and guilt raged through my mind. I couldn’t sleep that night. I was upset and teary all the next day.

Maybe your child’s school year will get off to a rocky start, too. As troubles arise, you may be tempted to despair, blame yourself, or to try to fix it. Breathe. Don’t overreact like I did.

Here’s what NOT to do if school is rough this week for your kids. DON’T:
• Fly off the handle. Your kids are watching you. If you overreact, they will too. When you’re tempted to fall apart, fall on your knees. Take it to God and ask for His peace and guidance.
• Go on a parental guilt-trip. Children will have bad days, no matter what you do. But parents (like me) tend to blame themselves. But I’ve learned that beating yourself up causes you to focus on you–not on your kids and not on helpful solutions. (Read here about my mom-guilt trip)
• Talk your kids OUT of being upset. Let your kids feel their feelings, instead of trying to spare them. Tell them that you’ve felt the same way, too. After the space of a good cry or a good break, gently help your kids gain perspective.
• Try to fix the situation so your kids will have it easy. Instead of trying to control things you can’t control, do this: pray with your children over the school year.* Read Scriptures about God’s love. Look for spiritual opportunities if school is rough this week.

My daughter had a tough sixth-grade year. Witnessing her struggle was so hard for me. But finally, I learned to relax a bit and to trust God more with the ups and downs. Two years later, she came home one day saying, “I love middle school.” (I almost keeled over.) Working through difficulty taught her how to overcome. And it taught me a lot, too.

Bad weeks provide good opportunities for learning. Make the most of every situation (good & bad).

2 Good Quotes:

Every struggle has value.
“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us—they help us learn to be patient. And patience develops strength of character in us and helps us trust God more each time we use it until finally our hope and faith are strong and steady.” (Romans 5:3-4, TLB)

Trust God even if school is rough this week.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” (Proverbs 3:4-5, NLT)

One Good Question:

How can you trust God more with the ups and downs of your child’s school year? 

Here’s an idea. Why not pray over the school year for 7 days with your child?

I’d like to help you.

* Every year I offer Back-to-School Prayers, a FREE printable guide for 7 days of purposeful prayer over the school year. This year, I’ve made it a “FAMILY Edition” so you can use it to pray WITH your kids. Here’s a peak at the 2021-2022 guide:

Each day has a different prayer focus, verses and writing space.

Save the guide until the end of the year to see how the Lord has answered!

Email me at hello@maypatterson.com to request this prayer guide and I’ll send it to you.