Tips for parents fighting ‘back to school’ blues

Aug 15, 2012, 6:44 AM | Updated: 6:44 am

PHOENIX — This is the time of year when a lot of parents battle the “back To school” blues.

Some of them have spent the summer with their kids at home, enjoying day trips to the mall, movies or maybe the zoo.

But now the kids are off to kindergarten or elementary school and the parent has to deal with the fact that their son or daughter “isn’t my little baby anymore.” Kids going off to school is a sign that they’re growing up, and it’s tough on parents.

“Sometimes we get so used to having the kids around, or being an integral part of the kids’ lives, that this change almost feels like a loss,” said psychologist Deanna Pledge.

Pledge said it’s acceptable for parents to cry when the kids board the school bus, or when they drop them off at school.

“If you grieve through the loss, recognize it, make some adjustments and accept the fact that ‘This was a change that I wasn’t quite ready for,’ that can help with the adjustment process, as opposed to trying to keep a stiff upper lip,” she said.

But Pledge said that parents shedding tears is only fine for a while.

“If it’s something that endures through the entire school day or goes on for weeks and really becomes the focus of that parent’s life, then we’re looking at something that’s beyond normal limits,” she said.

Pledge suggested that struggling parents can stay close to their kids during the school day by volunteering at the school. Many schools welcome parent volunteers, though Pledge said kids might have a different opinion about their parents being on campus.

Pledge said that for parents who have more time on their hands now, it might be good to do something for themselves.

“Maybe you can take up an exercise program,” she said. “There are adult education classes, or somebody might join a book club. There are all kinds of possibilities.”

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Tips for parents fighting ‘back to school’ blues