School is about to begin again in many states. Almost every kid is nervous or afraid of going back to school. For children who learn in a different way than school teaches—or have had negative experiences in school—their fear is intense.

Parents often fail to listen to their children’s feelings and may even make them wrong: “I’m scared to go to school.” (Parent response,) “Don’t be silly, your friends are there, blah! Blah! Blah! A child learns to hide feelings from the parent.

Another way to respond might be, “Tell me what you are the most afraid of–” then listen. Sometimes, you don’t know a solution, so ask the child, “What is one thing you could do to make X easier? How can I help you?”

Adults seldom listen to each other, so they build an “elephant in the room,” (unspoken feelings.) Those elephants lessen individual trust and walls begin to build between two people. Even if someone gets angry with you, it is better to speak your feelings; you will like yourself better for having done so.

Most people are afraid of their feelings—even positive ones!

Expressing feelings makes people feel vulnerable and weak, so all we ask (children and adults) is that you listen and be as empathetic as you are able.

Please share with family and friends!

Scott A. McDaniel photo