Psychological counseling for families

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) — Though back-to-school shopping can be exciting; it can also create stress.

Brandon Kays, a mental health therapist at UofL, said the change in routine that comes with going back to school can scare families.

“I think anything that matters is worth accepting the fact that maybe we’re a little scared. We may be a little worried about how this year will go,” Kays said. “I think it’s fair for parents to be stressed, right. I mean, there’s enough stress in the world, especially for kids at school. With a shortage of teachers, with some terrible things that have been happening in schools lately.”

Kays said that part of the stress parents feel is because they don’t have a sense of control.

“I know that one day my child will set foot in a school and I will not be in control. That sense of control is an illusion,” Kays said. Take away the mass shootings that have taken place in recent years; take away the existing chaos; in society. We’re not really in control yet. Our children can still be exposed to some of the same things. Our kids can still face peer pressure, toxic friend groups, or negative behaviors.”

His advice to parents is that before school starts, have an open discussion with your family.

Discuss your shared and individual goals for the year and ask your child what you can do to support them. Make sure your children know there is room to come to them with questions, concerns, or confusion.

“You talk about things that you don’t usually talk about, you can give insights into areas that you have already experienced in life; and you can also relieve a bit of nerves, a bit of fear; and encourage your child,” Kays said.

Kay added that one of the best things any parent can do is make sure their child knows they love them all the time. regardless of their grade projects or athletic performance.

“These are trying times, but {kids} should know that if they just reach out and look for support, they have it,” Kays said.

Hundreds of families came out for free backpacks and supplies at Saturday’s Back to School drive at St Paul Baptist Church in Shively. The free event is thanks to the Education First Foundation; who worked with organizations like Historically Black College and University Alumni, the Metro Government and others to give parents a head start on the season.

“Families can come, and if they come and sign up; all we need is their school and their grade,” said Andrea Houston of the Education First Foundation.

Dionna Slemmons brought her daughter Tianna to get extra supplies before she enters 3rd grade.

“So it’s really eased my pain because I don’t have to worry about going to these different stores to find things,” Slemmons said.

Slemmons said she agreed with Kay’s advice. She said she has multiple check-ins with her children each day.

“Obviously there’s a bit of nervousness, but that’s the way it is and the kids have to develop and they have to learn. And what better way to do that than at school,” Slemmons said.

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