Tough Love


Kids need structure—they crave it, according to the experts. And what happens when you shake up that structure and introduce the kind of change that even mature and responsible adults (like us) can’t handle? Well, I can tell you from personal experience this past week that your child will turn into someone you have never seen before. But if it does happen to you, don’t panic because you will get your child back soon enough.
This past week my 10 year-old son switched schools—yes, mid-year. I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but I thought he would accept it and embrace the challenge like any new sport or team he has joined in the past. Like going to camp, maybe?

Not so much.

Apparently, I forgot about the structure part of life that we had supported for so long. I forgot that he had been in the same school for seven out of his 10 years—that’s almost a lifetime for him. So we considered for a few days—is the change too much? Or is it actually a good thing? Will the anxiety of adapting to a new environment be damaging or affect his learning process?

When we told him the news, he went from being the nicest kid in the world to the craziest kid in the world. Clearly, just thinking about the change was too much for him. We knew the only way for him to accept it was to get him into the classroom and learn from experience. Sure enough, we are on day five and he has figured it out. There have been a few tears and a lot of (very) loud discussions, but we are through the worst of it.

As parents, we are reminded that change is a reality of life. Whether you think it’s a good thing or a bad thing, our kids benefit from learning how to navigate through it at some stage. There will be a time for most parents when we are faced with making a tough decision on behalf of our children that we feel is right, but that we know they won’t understand. Those are the toughest decisions to make and even tougher to execute because they usually involve some kind of change.

The best advice I received through our process was to follow my instincts and stick to my convictions. I’m glad I did.

Tell me a tough love story of yours. I am interested to hear it.


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