Where the Science of Psychology Meets the Art of Being Human

The Beginning of the School Year – Whose Anxiety is it Anyway? (by Sarah Sacks)

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The Beginning of the School Year - Whose Anxiety is it Anyway

It is the day before school starts and, I find myself up late sewing on the last of the name tags to the children’s school uniform.  As I struggle to thread the needle once again, I wonder to myself  “what am I really doing here?”… 

There is something about the quality of the sewing, the need to sew a tag on every item of clothing, with such care and urgency, that makes me wonder.  As I tune into this wondering and sense into my body, I recall sitting alone on my bedroom floor as an adolescent, sewing name tags on to my own clothes before heading off to boarding school. 

The excitement quickly drowned out by a sense of overwhelming dread.  The dread of leaving the safety of my known environment, my family.  The dread of all the unknown challenges I would have to face alone.  The dread of being far away.  As I sit more with my experience, I begin to understand that it is as if I am sewing the pain of my past away, sewing my children closer to me, just as I had wanted my parents to hold me closer to them. 

Making space for this awareness, the urgency in the sewing lifts, the sadness flows through my body and transforms into a deep love.  A deep love for our children and a sense of wonder around what lies ahead for them in the school year. 

My ease, transfers into their ease, and at the school gates the next morning, we are all able to let go of each other with less fear and more excitement. They are growing up, but maybe I am too?

Taking time to be with our experience, can give the people that matter to us most the freedom to be with theirs.  If you or your children are struggling with the transition to school, perhaps consider talking to someone about your experience…you will be laying the path for the future.


About the Author: Sarah Sacks

Sarah is a qualified and experienced counsellor, meditation teacher and group facilitator.  

Sarah’s warm and intuitive counselling style, along with her extensive life experience, enables Sarah to gently support her clients towards their own path of change.

Qualifications – Bachelor of Holistic Counselling, Diploma of Transpersonal Counselling, Bachelor of Business (International Marketing & Trade), Diploma of Arts (Japanese), ACA (level 2), qualifying member for CAPAV

You can find Sarah at The Grove Counselling and Therapy and on Facebook.

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Hey Warrior - A book about anxiety in children.








Hey Sigmund on Instagram

Our kids are going to make bad decisions. Hopefull Our kids are going to make bad decisions. Hopefully they’ll make plenty - it’s one of the ways they’ll learn and grow. We won’t always be able to love them out of a bad decision, but we want to be the ones they come to when the mess unfolds. 
When they get it really wrong, they’ll know it. They’ll also know exactly what we think. Of course we’ll be tempted to remind them over and over of what they’ve done and the fallout from that, but it will be useless. There is no new wisdom in telling them ‘I told you so’, and it also runs the risk of switching them off to our influence and guidance at a time they need it most. 
There will be wisdom in the mess for sure, and the best way to foster the discovery is to make a safe space for this to happen - and there is no safer space than in their connection with you. 
When we prioritise connection above lectures, criticism, or judgement, we clear the path for self-reflection. This is where the magic happens. When they feel safe with us, and free from shame or disconnection, we have enormous power to facilitate growth - ‘Can you tell me what happened? I know you’re a great kid and I’m wondering what made this feel like a good decision? What can you do differently next time? I know you didn’t mean for this to happen but it has, and I’m wondering how you might put things right? Do you need my help with that?’ When we strip it back to bare, discipline was always meant to be about teaching, and this will never happen when there is shame or when they feel disconnected from us. You are their everything. They don’t want to do the wrong thing and they don’t want to disappoint you - but they will, lots of times. 
With every one of their bad decisions is an opportunity to guide them towards growth, but only if we keep them close and hold their hearts gently amidst the breakage. When we keep their hearts open to us, they will open their minds and their mouths too. They will talk and they will listen, and they will know that even when their behaviour is ‘questionable’, they are our everything too.

Our kids are going to make bad decisions. Hopefully they’ll make plenty - it’s one of the ways they’ll learn and grow. We won’t always be able to love them out of a bad decision, but we want to be the ones they come to when the mess unfolds.
When they get it really wrong, they’ll know it. They’ll also know exactly what we think. Of course we’ll be tempted to remind them over and over of what they’ve done and the fallout from that, but it will be useless. There is no new wisdom in telling them ‘I told you so’, and it also runs the risk of switching them off to our influence and guidance at a time they need it most.
There will be wisdom in the mess for sure, and the best way to foster the discovery is to make a safe space for this to happen - and there is no safer space than in their connection with you.
When we prioritise connection above lectures, criticism, or judgement, we clear the path for self-reflection. This is where the magic happens. When they feel safe with us, and free from shame or disconnection, we have enormous power to facilitate growth - ‘Can you tell me what happened? I know you’re a great kid and I’m wondering what made this feel like a good decision? What can you do differently next time? I know you didn’t mean for this to happen but it has, and I’m wondering how you might put things right? Do you need my help with that?’ When we strip it back to bare, discipline was always meant to be about teaching, and this will never happen when there is shame or when they feel disconnected from us. You are their everything. They don’t want to do the wrong thing and they don’t want to disappoint you - but they will, lots of times.
With every one of their bad decisions is an opportunity to guide them towards growth, but only if we keep them close and hold their hearts gently amidst the breakage. When we keep their hearts open to us, they will open their minds and their mouths too. They will talk and they will listen, and they will know that even when their behaviour is ‘questionable’, they are our everything too.
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