You and/or too many of your colleagues who are raising older children, are starting their working days with a substantial measures of parenting guilt.
They carry this burden into their early morning meetings, and the guilt weighs down on their shoulders throughout their working days.
But what are they supposed to do if their children show a daily anxiety, fear, reluctance, or an outright refusal to go into school?
When the battle is on to get everyone organised and out of the house in the morning - what are they supposed to do about their children’s tears, their psychosomatic tummy aches, their unwillingness to get out of bed?
The stress can be phenomenal.Let’s have a closer look at this morning routine and how it can deliver a deep emotional blow to the soul of your colleagues.
The routine involves:
- being on edge from the moment of waking - wondering how bad the morning is going to get today
- a building sense of frustration with their child’s misery, dragging of feet and never-ending complaints - as the time to leave for school draws nearer
- frustration with partners who have nothing constructive to add, which might ease the situation
- frustration with siblings who decide to bring their own demands to the morning shenanigans
- frustration with the school which appears to be the root cause of the problem
- frustration that, despite the school being the root cause of the problem, it will penalise their child for being late - and potentially themselves – with fines and jail time being the ultimate threat hanging over their heads!
- frustration with their job, because the time they need to give to their children - is consumed by work - despite their children being significantly more valuable. The incongruence is a head-spinner.
And then there’s the guilt.
It always turns to guilt:
- guilt because of the frustration felt, with a child who was simply expressing their distress and very need of support
- and then guilt, after cajoling, coercing and packing their child off, into a school environment where they are clearly unhappy
- guilt of having to go to work when they feel their energy should be given to resolving the issue - that will in no doubt, be there again in the morning
- and the classic… guilt of being an all-round, generally bad, failing parent.
Whilst school is a place of fun and excitement for many – we have to recognise that there are a large minority of children who struggle daily with the anxiety it brings.
Within our workplace culture it’s unlikely that colleagues will drop the daily battles they are facing into polite ‘coffee-break’ conversations. If anything, it will be hidden as struggles with home life are unlikely to be conducive for that promotion!
This is one of the main reasons why the demands of raising older children are not supported in the workplace - it seems to employers, as though there are no problems to address.
This is evident in the policies and support available. Simply check out the demographics of the parent/carer networks and see for yourself that it’s those with younger ones who attend, because it is they who are, and feel catered for.
Yet, when I facilitate training events within these very same networks - but for those raising older children - they tend to be the most highly subscribed to - bringing in a completely new batch of parent/carers.
Things are getting tougher for young people in the UK and beyond.
External services are under pressure - operating at crisis-point intervention.
As a result, things are getting tougher to manage for those raising them – aka – you and/or your colleagues.
It really is time to support those who are raising older children, with the practical strategies to address and resolve issues such as school anxiety/refusal/reluctance.
You can get in touch with me to see how we can make that happen for your people - but for today simply be mindful, that behind the smiles - your colleagues who are raising older children may be carrying a gut-full of guilt!