If your child is expressing to you how much they are struggling with school it means that they trust you enough to be vulnerable in front of you. To lay it all out. To tell you how they feel. To confide in you that – physically, emotionally and mentally – they just cannot go to school. I want you to take a moment to reflect on what a privilege that is. How much trust is involved in being that vulnerable.

As a mother, you have most likely always been a safe space for your child. You have probably been their security and their stability from the day they landed in your arms. Your embrace, the way you feel, your voice, your breast, your smell, your bed, your presence, your expression, your smile – from the very moment they are born – should be the indicator of safety for your child. 

And since you are reading a Rewilding Life post, I am assuming that you still are very much aligned with the importance of conscious parenting and evolving as a parent and as an individual yourself.

The years in between birth and school lay the foundation of your parenting relationship. Your child learns who you are, who they are. They learn about boundaries and behavior and consequences. They also learn about feelings and how they are handled by the adults in their lives. But you are also growing as a mother. Learning from experts, from your own intuition, evolving through your own parenting journey and taking what is helpful. Hopefully, you are also questioning the status quo and whether mainstream norms and expectations when it comes to parenting and education are right for your family.

And then school begins and sometimes what you expected and hoped for for your child just goes pear shaped. They get tummy-aches. They can’t go. They sling onto you for dear life. They show you their very real, visceral reactions to an institutional life that you may have never been allowed to show to your parents. When your child tells you about their worries, allows you to see their tears, breaks down in anger, asks for your hand for security, your response cements to them what they can expect from your relationship. 

I want you to (and be gentle on yourself, this is a long game, not a blame game) reflect on how you are showing up for them as their safe space. Become aware of what you might need from a friend or a partner if you were at your most vulnerable state. And respond, rather than react, next time they come to you with big feelings.

There is so much trust involved in your child confiding in you. Crying to you. Asking for help from you. The question is how attuned and connected with them are you to be able to nurture them through their challenges? And how attuned and connected are you with your own internal triggers, beliefs and needs in order to be able to continue being the safe space for your child?