Polly's Pointers
A View From The Chair

The last week of August ranks right up there with the week before Christmas and a root canal job as one of lifeís more stressful events. Our three youngest kids, in a frenzy of pre-school anxiety, have been bashing each other, destroying property, crying, demanding, and teasing to greater heights than ever before. We have had a hard time keeping on top of all of this mayhem.

As negative behavior begins to escalate towards the end of summer, we always ask ourselves "Whatís going on here? Why is everything beginning to fall apart after a fairly relaxing summer?" Of course we know better than to ask. Itís always been this way just before the opening of school.

I think that all children have worries about the new school year. Will they have a nice teacher, will their friends be in their class, and will they remember how to do fractions? These worries are greatly magnified for many adoptive children, particularly for some of those who joined their families when they were past infancy. For them, a different classroom, a new teacher, perhaps even a strange school, can cause some of their old terrors to return. Change can bring back some of the feelings which were always with them when they were small. "Whatís going to happen to me? Why canít I stay where itís comfortable?" Their basic sense of security is threatened as they anticipate going out into the world and trying to find their places in it.

We can only try to understand their feelings and to help them get over the hump as easily as possible. Weíve agitated behind the scenes to get the best school situation for them, weíve taken them to school to meet their new teacher ahead of time, perhaps even to help arrange desks or shelve books, to say hello to the principal. We hope that this will ease the transition a bit.

Finally, that last week of August ends and off they go in their carefully chosen new outfits, hair combed and faces shiny. In spite of all their worries, they always do adjust in their own inimitable fashion and their parents always heave a big sigh of relief.

August is over.

  personal experience : parent's perspective
  school and education : transitions
  school and education : preparing for school
  emotions and development : transitions