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Thursday, 05 September 2013 20:45

Back to School Butterflies?

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So, now that a new school year has just started, how do you feel? Yes, I am talking to you Moms and Dads. Are you happy that your kid is finally out of your hair for the next nine months, more or less, or do you feel a sense of loss and perhaps some nervousness as to how your child will weather the new beginning. Whatever your reaction, happy, nervous, concerned, or a mix of the above, it is normal. In my case, the story always ended with "I waved back, got in my car, and wiped off tears."

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My daughter started first grade in 1993, but the mental pictures are still fresh. I still recall how "off" she was on the eve of the first day at school. She was moody, fidgety, and uncharacteristically inattentive. As many times as her mother and I asked her if she were OK, she answered in the affirmative but fooled no one. "Why don't you and daddy go for an ice cream" I said, and the two of us got in the car and drove off. She was expecting me to ask questions but I didn't. I waited until she was licking an ice cream cone and after its magical healing powers had taken hold, I said "You know, I remember I was pretty nervous my first day of school. I didn't think the other kids were going to like me." The floodgates opened, and her concerns of the same started pouring out. All was resolved for her after 20 min of talking, but her concerns now became mine. Will she like the new school, the new teacher, will she make new friends easily? Will she thrive? Now, I was in deep thought. The next day we dropped her off at school. I was dreading the send-off and had the answer ready if she asked to go home right then. We walked her in class, shook hands with the teacher, dropped her backpack on the desk, and waved adieu without the slightest concern. I waved back, got in my car, and wiped off tears.

It happened again in 2001 as a freshman in High School and in 2005 as a freshman in college. Different circumstances, different stages of maturity, different factors at play but, on constant concern. Will my girl be happy, will she like the new environment, take roots in her student community, and thrive? I left each first day of school with a heavy heart and mist in my eyes. It wasn't until years later that I understood the cause of my anxiety. While in part it had to do with concerns of the new environment and its likely challenges, it had far more to do with me not wanting to let her go, not wanting to come to grips with the fact that my baby girl was growing up and could do just fine without my constant oversight. And fine she did!

So, if similar thoughts and concerns are going through your minds as the new school year begins, be the best parent you can be and know that your kids will do fine, and so will you.

This is my opinion. It worked for me and it can work for you. You just have to try it!.

Chris Efessiou

About Chris Efessiou:  Chris Efessiou is an entrepreneur, business leader, educator, mentor, international speaker, radio show host, and best-selling author of CDO Chief Daddy Officer: The Business of Fatherhood  based on his own experience from raising his daughter as a single dad by applying his business knowledge to the business of parenting.  Listen to Chris’s weekly Radio Show Straight Up With Chris:  Real Talk on Business and Parenthood on Voice America Radio.  You may connect with Chris on Facebook, follow on Twitter and visit