So, that's it. Summer is over and the kids are back in school. It's always a shock to the system: Lunches to pack, homework to oversee and the myriad activities begin anew.
While we get caught up in the pressure of our day-to-day doldrums, we forget that our kids are often under pressure as well.
The adults in their lives expect them do as they're told and do well in school.
Their peers have different expectations. As young as Grade 3, kids are under pressure to wear the right clothes, like the right music, have the right friends and be cool. Often, that leads to stress and anxiety for youngsters. Well-intentioned parents often try too hard to prevent the bumps and scrapes of feelings as kids grow up, but one parenting expert says they're doing more harm than good.
Dick O'Brien has been a motivational speaker for more than 30 years and says parents who rescue their kids from the little calamities and stresses of childhood are setting them up for a lifetime of being unable to cope when things go awry.
"I hear from parents all the time 'I don't want my kid to struggle,'" O'Brien told me in an interview a few years ago. "What they don't get is that life is a struggle."
To help a child become resilient to stress, parents have to get better at saying no:
• No, it doesn't matter if you don't wear (insert trendy clothing style) to school every day.
• No, I am not going to call your teacher to get you out of gym or intervene on a grade.
• No, you can't have an allowance without earning it.
Sure, it means disappointing your kids, but O'Brien contends kids who learn to deal with disappointment at eight and 10 and 12 grow into healthy, well-adjusted adults who deal with life's little -- and big -- bumps in the road.
"One of the things parents do is they over-rescue their children," he says. "One of the problems we have is that the more we rescue our children, the more we create adults who are unable to cope."
It doesn't just apply to kids learning how to deal with disappointment. O'Brien said parents also have to let kids experience the fear that comes from the thrill of the new or unknown, so they can discern between that and real danger.
Remember the mix of fear and excitement you felt the first time you walked to the corner store on your own? Probably not. Gen X kids, especially ones born at the beginning of that demographic, were the last ones to experience the type of freedom their Baby Boomer counterparts, and generations before them, enjoyed. Chances are, you were sent to the store for whatever your mom or dad needed, like this kid, when you were too young to even remember.
Yet we are the ones who have created a bubble-wrapped Generation Y and Z; children and young adults fearful of the unknown, incapable of managing simple tasks without parental involvement and unable to cope when things don't go their way.
But there is hope. O'Brien urges parents to differentiate between danger (letting kids ride their bikes on a highway, for example) and adventure (zipping down a big hill on their bike) so kids can learn the difference for themselves.
Here are some ways to help Millennial/Generation Z kids deal with the pressures they experience day to day:
• Teach them that they are not defined by the clothes they wear, the stuff they have or where they live. If they are confident in their own skin, kids will learn to duck and dodge the slings and arrows chucked at them by similarly insecure classmates
• Empower them. If kids know it's OK with you to respectfully challenge authority and that you'll support them if they need it, they'll learn to stand up for themselves
• When it comes to conflict resolution, stand back, mama bear, and let the cubs manage on their own. Unless there is real danger, such as physical threats, involved, it's best not to intervene
• You don't like everyone you meet, and not everyone likes you. It's the same with kids. Telling your child someone is wrong for not liking them is the swiftest way to create a narcissist who is unable to grasp the concept that they are not the centre of the universe, or a child who is desperate for approval and may make poor choices to fit in
• Give them some freedom. Kids who have the chance to spread their wings in age-appropriate ways - walking to school or the bus stop unattended, hanging out with friends or going to the park unaccompanied, learn how to handle responsibility better than those who are chauffeured everywhere
• Don't overschedule your kids. While they do need to learn effective time-management skills, stressing them out by filling their evenings and weekends with activities doesn't teach them how to put their leisure time to good use
• Don't shield them from disappointment. They can't win every spelling bee, make first string on every team or be top of the class all the time. How you deal with these things will heavily influence your child's response, so choose your words carefully
Drake, a.k.a. Aubrey Graham, <a href="http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/the-hot-button/rapper-drake-finally-graduates-from-high-school-11-years-later/article4623117/" target="_blank">dropped out of Toronto’s Forest Hill Collegiate Institute at 15</a> to play Jimmy Brooks on ‘Degrassi: The Next Generation.’ After rising to international fame as a rapper, he finally graduated last October at the age of 25. “<a href="https://twitter.com/Drake/status/258731694687920130" target="_blank">One of the greatest feelings in my entire life. As of tonight, I have graduated high school</a>!” Drizzy tweeted after nailing his final exam
In her teens, <a href="http://www.people.com/people/avril_lavigne/" target="_blank">Avril signed a record deal and took off for New York to record an album</a>. How did she feel leaving school during her junior year? “Awesome!” she said. “<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vqUayZ78j-U" target="_blank">I was supposed to do homeschooling, I had books, but I didn’t do it. So basically I’m a high school dropout</a>.”
Seth Rogen ditched classes to play a high school student on the cult TV comedy 'Freaks and Geeks.' "<a href="http://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2013/01/freaks-and-geeks-oral-history" target="_blank">I dropped out of high school when I started doing the show</a>. I told them I was doing correspondence school from Canada and just wrote 'Superbad' all day," he told Vanity Fair.
The funnyman’s family fell on hard times when Carrey was in his teens, and he had to work to help support them. The Newmarket, Ont. native <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1346063/I-wanted-bash-someones-head-Jim-Carrey-gets-emotional-reveals-familys-poverty-heartache.html" target="_blank">described working as a janitor and as a security guard</a> in an Inside The Actors Studio interview, and said he eventually left school at 16. “<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cpEfiRUu64Q" target="_blank">I left school on my birthday</a>,” he said. “And I went immediately to a comedy club.”
Ryan Gosling: Oscar-nominated actor, Canadian heartthrob… high school dropout? After his stint as a Mouseketeer, The Goz <a href="http://www.wetpaint.com/network/gallery/celebrity-high-school-dropouts-whove-made-millions#7" target="_blank">left school at 17 and headed for L.A. to make it big</a>.
The ‘Back To The Future’ star dropped out of high school in grade 11 to pursue acting, but he still got <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/Books/funny-thing-happened-future-michael-fox/story?id=10373267" target="_blank">what he calls “amazingly comprehensive education.”</a> “<a href="http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20361652,00.html" target="_blank">I learned economics from being a struggling actor, physics from trying to do two things at once</a>,” he said to People Magazine. “I'm a firm believer that you can learn in a structured or an unstructured way.” He eventually earned his GED in his early 30s.
In high school, Keanu Reeves was more interested in hockey and drama than his classes. "<a href="http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20100791,00.html" target="_blank">Even when he was tending goal… he would start reciting Shakespeare</a>,” his former coach, Scott Barber, recalled. Reeves <a href="http://voices.yahoo.com/keanu-reeves-interesting-facts-star-the-2310091.html?cat=40" target="_blank">attended four different high schools</a>, but never earned his diploma.
Although Celine Dion never finished high school, she believes “<a href="http://www.cbc.ca/news/arts/music/story/2008/08/22/dion-doctorate-qc.html" target="_blank">the school of life is also very important</a>.” She received an honorary doctorate from Université Laval in 2008.
During his time at Winnipeg’s Kelvin High School, <a href="http://www2.macleans.ca/2013/07/06/6-dropouts-who-went-on-to-do-great-things/" target="_blank">the Canadian singer-songwriter played in several bands</a>. But <a href="http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/story/2012/05/25/mb-kelvin-neil-young-reunion-winnipeg.html" target="_blank">attendance wasn’t Young’s “strong suit,”</a> according to CBC, and he dropped out.
She's just like the rest of us! Back in 1997, Gwyneth went through a bit of an awkward phase.
Paltrow the rebel? In 1999, Gwynnie chanelled her inner greaser. We can't imagine Paltrow would ever wear a biker jacket nowadays.
Avril Lavigne wasn't always a punk rock princess. She looked downright suburban in her high school yearbook photo, sporting a bob, glasses, and (gasp!) no racoon eye makeup.
Kelly <a href="https://twitter.com/MissKellyO/status/337640887788126208" target="_blank">tweeted</a> this high school photo of herself with the caption, "#ThrowbackThursday Me in high school! I was such a dork!" We think she was adorable.
This is Queen Bey, age 15, in 1996. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/17/beyonce-pregnant-baby_n_3294124.html#slide=2436377" target="_blank">She looks</a>. <a href="http://i.huffpost.com/gadgets/slideshows/296863/slide_296863_2436408_free.jpg?1368221027249" target="_blank">Exactly. </a><a href="http://i.huffpost.com/gadgets/slideshows/296863/slide_296863_2436361_free.jpg?1368220728057" target="_blank">The Same. </a>
Blake Lively has come a long way since her high school days! We barely recognized the <em>Gossip Girl</em> star.
His hair may have been questionable, but Brad Pitt was always dreamy, as evidenced by his high school yearbook photo.
So cute! Britney's innocent yearbook pic has us nostalgic for the '90s.
Cameron Diaz's feathered hair is too '80s to handle.
Chace Crawford took the california-surfer look a bit too far with his beaded choker necklace, perfectly groomed eyebrows and blond highlights.
Fresh-faced Courteney Cox has hardly changed since her yearbook photo was taken.
Eminem, aka. Marshall Mathers, was <a href="http://www.salon.com/2000/07/25/eminem_secrets/" target="_blank">ruthlessly bullied as a kid. </a>
Fergie looked like she belonged in a beauty pageant in her high school photo.
Decidedly more nerdy, but still with a sultry gaze, Jon Hamm was a hunk-in-the-making in his high school yearbook.
Kathy Griffin always loved the stage --<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/09/kathy-griffin-in-high-sch_n_955794.html" target="_blank"> she was an avid theatre geek in high school </a>-- though her look has changed quite a lot since then.
Katy Perry grew up in a very conservative family (both her parents were pastors.) <a href="http://www.biography.com/people/katy-perry-562678" target="_blank">She moved to Los Angeles when she was just 17 to pursue her singing career.</a>
Kurt Cobain was described as <a href="http://www.biography.com/people/kurt-cobain-9542179?page=1" target="_blank">an artistically gifted, though somewhat strange pupil in high school.</a> He would go on to form the multi-platinum grunge band Nirvana.
Lindsay in high school was just as cute as her Mean Girls alter-ego Cady. We miss Lindsay circa 2002.
Funnyman Louis C.K. looks dramatically different from his high school days.
Not a strand was out of place for Martha Stewart's yearbook photo. Are you surprised?
Megan Fox was quite the looker even in her high school days.
Cute-as-a-button Michelle Williams (<a href="http://www.instyle.com/instyle/package/transformations/photos/0,,20290122_20235094_20796225,00.html" target="_blank">pictured in her sophomore yearbook photo</a>) has blossomed into one of our favourite style stars.
We're glad Minka ditched the lip-liner, massive bangs and scrunchie ponytail.
Obama rocks an afro like nobody's business in this high school snap.
Colbert was quite the cutie during his high school days!
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