The first day of school, especially in a new school, can
be like walking into a horror movie for a child. Feeling
out of place, disconnected, and unsure of himself, he steps
into the unknown, hopefully concealing the terror that grips his insides.
He wonders how he will match up to his peers in
making friends, making the grade in his classes, in extra-
curricular activities, and on the athletic fields.
As a parent, you can assist your child in moving through
those fears by seeing that he has these five items in place.
1. Self Image
The picture your child has of himself tells him who he can
and cannot be, what he can and cannot do in life.
Whether he is successful or unsuccessful — in his own
eyes, is a result of whether he sees himself as a success.
Talk with him about his plans for the year. Listen for
clues that he places limitations on what he can and cannot
be and do. Rather than settle for a reply like, “I can’t
play sports” ask him if he would like to play sports, or
one sport in particular. If you get a “yes” then suggest
brainstorming ways he can get better at and enjoy that
Apply the same solution-finding system to any and all areas
2. Self Esteem
Self Esteem is how he feels about himself. Either he feels
good about himself –and makes choices that please him,
regardless of what others think or say — or — he feels bad
about himself and does whatever he thinks he has to so he
A child with high self esteem is not vulnerable to peer
pressure. A child with low self esteem yields to what
others say and follows what they do.
Let your child know he chooses whether to like himself or
not, to be happy or sad. Offer help in seeing himself and
his life choices. Show him how to view his life from
The big picture brings awareness to how he makes his life
look exactly as it does. Let him know
he can make different choices and get different results.
Confidence reflects high self esteem. Regardless of what
happens in life — even during times of horrendous pain and
suffering — if he has high self esteem, your child knows
at some point, all will be well. Well does not mean the old
way comes back. It means the crisis will pass and life
will continue as it needs to.
Does your child act to accomplish his goals, even when he
feels fear? Or does he stop and question whether he can
succeed — then talk himself out of attempting new things?
Acknowledge every little thing your child does so he
appreciates his greatness. If your child only hears
praise when he accomplishes something big, he may feel
worthless unless he creates big things in life. He also may
feel you only value him when he does what you want him to
Tell him you love him rather than what he does. And
support him in doing whatever passion he pursues. Support
means participate, attend events — go beyond paying for
the necessary physical items and lessons.
Does your child make his own choices in life and
accept responsibility for the outcome? Does he seek
advice and opinions and then rely on himself for his final
Assist your child in making decisions rather than making
them for him.
Is your child content with the choices he makes? Is he
decisive — making choices quickly and sticking to them?
Does he also know that events are just events and we give
Show your child he can choose to interpret life events as
good or bad. Teach him to look for the good in every person
and every situation. You will see more smiles and fewer
Self image leads to self esteem. Your child’s level of self
esteem determines his degree of confidence. Whether your
child takes responsibility for his life looking as it does
or he seeks to blame others and the world, results from his
level of confidence. Finally, your child, knowing he
controls how his life looks, can choose to a happy life.