There’s typically a feeling of impending change in the air this time of year. For students, September means saying goodbye to the long awaited summer months often devoted to de stressing, catching up on sleep and socializing. For parents, September denotes the end of a nice break from rushing to evening extra curriculars and hassling over homework. Even if you don’t have kids, September spells change – days are shorter and there’s more traffic congestion, for example.
With September being a back to school, nose back to the grind type month, people begin to slowly move from one pattern of behaviour to another and reflect on what worked this time last year and what they’d like to see in place over the upcoming fall and winter months.
During the summer months, parents are typically a little more relaxed about bedtime, for example. Perhaps chores that the kids helped with before school ended fell by the wayside because of overnight camp or a different schedule.
Family meetings are great ways to gather everyone together and to reinforce working with one another If children and partners hear where you are at, and are reminded of the changes that lie ahead, they will likely be more inclined to prepare for them – physically and psychologically.
Having a system or several in place helps you work more effectively as a team. It may even mean less yelling or reminding, especially if consequences are set up in advance. For example, if you’ve requested and your teen accepted the responsibility of setting the table each evening but then does not, a logical consequence may be that no one can eat until it is set. Your family may eat dried out food for the first few days that you stay strongly convicted to the consequence, but after a while, when the rest of the family gets on his back about slacking off, or if he has to miss out an activity that he enjoys because dinner wasn’t over in time, he may begin to see how his behaviour affects everyone, including himself.
I recognize that change isn’t always greeted with open arms and acknowledge that change isn’t as easy for one person as it may be for the next. After helping your partner or child feel heard and understood, figure out ways to help cope with the changes. Although it may be hard to say goodbye to summer, looking forward to and making the best of what lies ahead can make saying au revoir a little easier.