Keeping It Real: Addressing Mental Fatigue

“Mom, this doesn’t make any sense!”

Frustrated with his dividing fractions math assignment, my son dramatically dropped his head into his hands. Mulling over the best way to show the work that was in his beautiful mind on paper, I slowly moved into his space.

With a deep breath in of all that is good, strong and capable followed by the exhale of all that wasn’t serving him in the moment, my son picked up his pencil began to reassess the problem before him. Though it was a challenge and took some intentional effort in working through together, we eventually found the solution and resolution to the math problem and frustration of the moment.

Each and every day our children are faced with new intellectual challenges and expansions of the mind as they step into the world around them with eyes wide open to its many abounding wonders and possibilities! While some concepts like literature, math, science, art and/or music come naturally to kids, they don’t always come so easily to others.

Do you remember what it was like being your child’s age and trying to understand new concepts?

Do you remember moments of triumph when you solved the problem or aced the test as well as when you missed the boat completely and maybe even struggled to keep up in your studies?

These feelings and experiences are all very valid and absolutely real! It comes with learning and maturing as a natural part of growing up.

With all that being said, there is another real life layer in the current mix of normal adolescent experiences that is causing some students and parents increased levels of distress, anxiety and confusion.

As these unprecedented times continue to unfold, some families continue to experience daily shifts and evolutions in protocols, regulations, etc., leaving parents and kids reeling in staying up to speed with all the “need to knows.” Academically, it is no wonder that some parents are seeing their children struggle in ways that they have never witnessed before; Grades aren’t what they used to be, assignments are being missed and subjects that once came to them easily are now a struggle.

This all begs the question… How are we as parents and teachers supposed to help guide our children through this continuing, unique season of our lives?

By Keeping it Real!

1. Acknowledge the struggle.

“I see that you are frustrated. I know that this is hard. But together, we are going to figure this out! You are not alone.”

Acknowledge, validate and empathize with your child in their real life struggle! This isn’t an easy time and it is extremely frustrating. Just as we adults in our personal and professional lives have to continuously adapt, shift and change in this present season, so do our kids!

2. Be the parent your child needs you to be!

While we as adults have the ability to shift easily within our brain space to make difficult yet timely decisions, understand that developmentally our children are not there yet.

Be the advocate and voice that your child needs when it comes to supporting them academically. Be open and transparent with your child’s teacher so that you can both work together to find reasonable solutions of nurturing, guidance and support under the circumstances.

If you are facing a roadblock of support, consider outside of school resources that may be able to assist you in helping your child with their continued learning and growth during this difficult time.

Parents, this season of our collective lives has undoubtedly been extraordinary and certainly one that we never expected to face with our children. But even in the face of the unexpected, the adverse circumstances and hard of life, there remains opportunities. There are gifts within the valleys that allow us to come closer together, to learn and to grow from one another in ways that we would never be able to gain from our mountain top experiences alone.

In the words of Daniel J. Siegel, M.D. and Tina Payne Bryson, M.D.,

“As parents, we are wired to try and save our children from any harm and hurt, but ultimately we can’t. They’ll fall down, they’ll get their feelings hurt, and they’ll get scared and sad and angry. Actually, it’s often these difficult experiences that allow them to grow and learn about the world. Rather than trying to shelter our children from life’s inevitable difficulties, we can help them integrate those experiences into their understanding of the world and learn from them. How our kids make sense of their young lives is not only about what happens to them but also about how their parents, teachers and other caregivers respond.”

So today, let’s choose to respond in a posture of Love, Support, Care, Compassion and Guidance! You are not alone in hard season[s]. Please reach out to us if you need assistance in helping your child physically, intellectually, emotionally and/or socially. Together we will continue to support each other and our children through this incredible time of our lives!

About the Author

Meg Klettke is the proud owner alongside her husband, Alex of Family Strong Sussex, a SKILLZ Lifetime Gold studio in Southeastern Wisconsin. With a background in traditional and alternative therapeutics, Meg is an active advocate for today’s youth. Her passion for supporting and nurturing the whole child resonates through all she does as a Proud Ninja Mom of two boys with special needs, Certified Pediatric Ninja Specialist and Content Creator for SKILLZ Worldwide.

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