Back to school for the kid with issues Part 3: Parenting Pep-talk or wait and see?

Imagine if one could fast-forward a child’s life. One day he or she is going to kindergarten and a week later, it is time for freshman year of college. In reality, parenting may feel similar to that image. It is difficult to know when to give advice or encouragement. When to let them pave their own way or when to be the good Shepard.


If only there was a way for one to give all the insight and knowledge a child will need to know how to succeed, at once. While that is not the case, advice is important for children of all ages and those who struggle with learning disabilities or emotional issues.


Age can be a determining factor in how much a parent should say, but there needs to be a willingness on the parent’s behalf to let the child experience much of the school politics on their own. That being said, a little advice does not hurt., offers advice on how to help a child transition into school. For the child who is starting at a new school, parents may want to try taking the child to tour the campus before school starts or late afternoon, to make them more comfortable, when the day’s anxiety has worn off.

Even if the school does not allow visitors and the playground is closed, “The more your child sees of the school, the less [he or she] will fret with fear of the unknown, and the more comfortable [he or she] will feel on the first day.” If there is an orientation available, have the child attend. For children with mental or emotional issues, which can hinder learning, it may be difficult to know when to speak up and who to talk to.

Speaking about a child’s mental illness

Speaking to the school or teacher about mental or learning disabilities in the child holds great benefit for the student. The first step would be to have the child diagnosed by a doctor and not base anything on assumptions. The National Institute of Mental Health, NIMH, gives advice on the process of communicating with the school about a child’s mental illness.

In certain situations, if the child has not been diagnosed with any mental health issues in the past, the school may approach the parent on the issues the child is having in school. NIMH explains that the parent, “May ask the school to conduct an evaluation to determine whether your child qualifies for special education services. The school can accommodate any needs of the child through a specified curriculum and help the child receive a proper education.

If he or she has not been diagnosed, perhaps giving the child time to adjust to school may be the best course of action. The parent should feel safe in knowing that the school only has a desire to help the student excel and thrive through learning. The HSC foundation has a guide for parents and working with the school for the child’s benefits. Giving advice and support to the child will help the child understand who to speak with about these issues.

Treating the child as if he or she has problems instead of searching for the solution will only cause more problems for the child. White River Academy is a residential boarding school for boys 12 to 17, located at the edge of the majestic Great Basin in Delta, Utah. We have crafted deliberate and holistic treatments and activities to truncate negative patterns of behavior — whether caused by mental health disorders, or debilitating addictions. To learn more about our treatment modalities and curriculum, please call 866-520-0905.

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