Home > Communication, Parenting > Second grade

Second grade

“I’m nervous,” confessed my six-year-old, Li’l D, from our car’s back seat.

As we drove toward his school, my husband and I talked to him about his nerves.

We asked, we explained, we reassured.

Li’l D grew increasingly agitated as we neared his school, but didn’t seem to be agitated about school itself.

“Oh! Is this one of those times you want us to stop reassuring you and just listen?” I asked him.

“Yes, please,” he replied.

“Okay. We hear you, we understand you, and we have total confidence in you,” I told him. Anthony nodded agreement as he navigated traffic near the school.

“Thanks,” murmured Li’l D from the back seat.

As I watched him interact with his friends and new teacher minutes later, I couldn’t help smiling.

He’ll be just fine in second grade.

  1. August 22, 2016 at 11:12 am

    Went through the same thing this AM with my two. Sometimes it is hard to just step back and listen.

    • August 22, 2016 at 11:23 am

      It really is hard. We want so much to make everything be okay (totally understandable, of course!), that stepping back seems like failing when, really … it can be its own kind of loving preparation. πŸ™‚

  2. August 22, 2016 at 12:05 pm

    My daughter LOVED her first couple of days of first grade. She can’t wait to go back. Fortunately her school reopens Wednesday.

    • August 28, 2016 at 6:44 am

      Awesome! How did the latter part of the week go?!

      • August 28, 2016 at 6:49 am

        The school system will be closed for one more full week before finally reopening the Tuesday after Labor Day. After only going 2 days and then being closed 3+ weeks, it’ll be like starting over again. She’s excited to go back for which I’m grateful!

  3. August 22, 2016 at 12:33 pm

    I love that “Just shut up and listen” is even an option on your parenting menu. Well done you!

    • August 28, 2016 at 6:50 am

      My mom was my role model in listening, really listening, to kids, but my urge to fix overrode my ability to just listen sometimes.

      I picked up the beginnings of that skill from another blogger! I wish I could remember the specific blogger or post, but now I just remember reading it and going, “I really do wish I could fix everything and make everything great for him, but that’s not how life works. So maybe I’ll start paying attention to when I’m trying to fix things and see if that’s really the right thing to do.”

      That’s part of why my heart swelled so when we were at an amusement park a couple months back and he said, β€œSome kids and parents only listen to parents.” Implicit in his statement was the acknowledgment that he is heard. Ach, I’m tearing up just remembering. ♥

      • August 28, 2016 at 11:20 am

        I remember you wrote about that… πŸ™‚ I know that terrible urge to fix – also the urge to go into mama bear mode and protect, regardless of the rights or wrongs of the case. It’s so important to give kids a safe place to unload, and a reliable source of advice, without interfering in their ability to deal with stuff themselves. But it’s such a balancing act, so hard to get right! I was devastated when I learned, YEARS later (I think she was practically in her teens) that my daughter had struggled with fear of the dark and insomnia for years. I don’t know why she didn’t tell me. I wasn’t the kind of mom who got mad at fears, or belittled them. I would GLADLY have given her a night light, or kept her company, or whatever she needed! But for some reason she thought that was a battle she had to fight alone. 30 years later I still feel horrible just thinking about it… 😦

  4. August 22, 2016 at 2:39 pm

    Listening is a precious gift.

    • August 28, 2016 at 6:59 am

      Agreed. One of the things I love most about my current job is that I really, genuinely feel heard. To know Li’l D feels that, sometimes if not always, is a delight.

  5. Paul
    August 23, 2016 at 3:03 am

    Very very cool that you have that dialogue with Li’l D. When our girl was about his age – around 6 or 7 – I had a similar conversation with her when she was the lead in a school play and she said she was nervous. I explained that those butterflies in her belly were the same ones she felt just before she was about to really have fun – like opening Christmas presents or seeing her Grandmother. That the same butterflies are interpreted as good or bad by our mind and that she could very well be excited that she would have a chance to show everyone what a great actor she was. I further explained that it sometimes happened that what we felt could be seen as good or bad depending on how we chose to look at it. I didn’t give the following example but it is true: during excellent sex we will sometimes stretch ourselves physically to the point where it would normally be painful, and yet when we feel that we interpret it as pleasure not pain. Mind you the next day, it comes back as pain – but who cares then? πŸ˜€

    • August 28, 2016 at 7:08 am

      What a lovely conversation with your daughter! I recently watched a video reminiscent of what you’re saying.

      The speaker talked about how stress isn’t really itself a bad thing. I wish I’d bookmarked it, because it was really spot on. The bodily response to stress is actually, as the speaker explained, your body growing toward some kind of challenge.

      It was a really positive thing, the way you described it to your daughter. πŸ™‚

      And LOL about your parting thoughts! Indeed.

  6. August 23, 2016 at 4:38 am

    That was wise of you. Hearing and listening are such two different things. πŸ™‚

    I, myself, am so nervous for my third-grader…hopefully, I won’t project my feelings onto her! But I think she’ll do fine, she’s braver than me.

    • Paul
      August 23, 2016 at 5:20 am

      That nervousness can be interpreted as excitement at what her future will bring. Grab that excitement and the positive perspective will carry you a long ways.

    • August 28, 2016 at 7:13 am

      Has she started? How did it go?

      According to Anthony, Li’l D dove into second grade as if he’d always been there. We’d been concerned that the comparatively stern-seeming second grade teacher might be the “crushing-spirits” kind of stern, but no. She’s structured but totally kind.

      I hope your daughter’s first days are/were loverly!

  7. August 23, 2016 at 12:19 pm

    Bravo on being parents that actually listen to the kiddos as well as teaching kids to express themselves. It’s so important for kids to feel comfortable enough to vent.

    • August 28, 2016 at 7:15 am

      My mom really listened to me and my siblings when we were little, so that I had a really good role model in that. I loved feeling trusted and worth being listened to, and want both my boys to have the same feeling. This particular approach to listening instead of trying to fix, though, was one I learned from another blogger … if only I could remember which one! Grateful all the same. πŸ™‚

  8. August 25, 2016 at 6:23 am

    Mr. T and I had a talk many years ago, and I made sure it was okay for me to ask him, when I wasn’t sure where the conversation was going “Do you need me to listen or do you want me to offer suggestions?” I’m a fixer and want to “fix” any issue he might have, but sometimes he just needs to vent and for me to acknowledge him – that question has saved us lots of heartache – so I was happy to see you ask (that type) of question on the way to school!

    • August 28, 2016 at 7:17 am

      Thanks to blogging–and specifically other bloggers–I’m able to pick up lots of wisdom that wouldn’t necessarily find itself to me otherwise, or at least not so early! ♥

  9. August 27, 2016 at 6:40 pm

    β€œOh! Is this one of those times you want us to stop reassuring you and just listen?” I asked him.

    Oh, Deb. What a beautiful gift you have given your son, that he can know this about himself and say it to you — and have it be respected! So, so, SO important. ❀ ❀ ❀ !!!

    • August 28, 2016 at 7:31 am

      This is where I am SO grateful for blogging! I’m able to avail myself of so many other people’s wisdom. ♥

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