New school year, new anxieties

Posted September 17, 2015 by

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Before becoming an Empowering Parents 1-on-1 Coach, I worked as a Special Education teacher in public school and residential settings.

For me, the start of the school year always held the promise of a fresh start and new adventures. Through my many interactions with parents, I know parental anxiety is a very real thing.

A lot of parents look toward the school year with fear and anxiety —  they know there is a good chance their child is going to have problems in the classroom, either behaviorally or academically. For parents of children with ADHD, ODD, or other special needs, this anxiety can be even more severe.

To help ease back-to-school anxiety, be proactive and start developing a good working relationship with your child’s teacher now.

Check out 4 Ways to Handle Back to School Behavior Problems with Your ODD Child for tips on communicating with your child’s school. Author Kimberly Abraham’s first-hand experience with Oppositional Defiant Disorder led her to create The ODD Lifeline, an at-home program that helps stop power struggles, severe blowouts and more.

For kids with an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or 504 Plan, starting a dialogue with your child’s teacher at the beginning of the school year is a necessity. I recommend reading How to Prepare Your Child with Special Needs for the Back to School Transition — you’ll be setting your child up for success in no time!

Lastly, remember the three P’s when developing a parent/school relationship: Praise, Prevent, and Plan. Part of planning includes bringing up issues prior to an official parent-teacher conference or scheduled meeting. This can help you and the teacher develop a strategic approach to any challenges your child might face.

If you’re full of hope that this year will be different, that’s great! Just try to avoid the “wait and see” approach. When you wait until the teacher is calling you with a problem, it can be more difficult to get on the same page and work on a solution together.

Hang in there; we’re here to help you get through the start of another school year! (Doesn’t time fly?)

Take care,

Denise R., Empowering Parents Coach
Learn more about 1-on-1 Coaching

Quote of the Week! “Everyone responds well to positive feedback, especially when what they often hear is criticism.” — Anna Stewart


Denise Rowden is a parent of two teens: an 18-year-old daughter and a 19-year-old son. She has worked in Special Education, Alternative Education and adolescent group homes. She has a BS in Psychology from the University of Southern Maine and is currently working on her Life Coach certification from the International Coach Federation.

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