Middle school started. I’m still worried, and I’m not alone, as a parent, about worrying …

What am I worried about?

Oh, that might take a few therapy sessions …
Anything you’re worried about?

Anyway, I picked my son up, a few minutes after school let out at Walnut Creek Intermediate (WCI!). We agreed to meet up at what I discovered today looks like the happening place in downtown Walnut Creek (More so than a dowtown bar or restaurant owned by one of the Dudum clan).

The happening place in Walnut Creek, for tweens in the afternoon, at least from what I briefly observed this afternoon, as a new middle school parent, is the 7-Eleven on North Civic Drive, a few blocks from the shortcut from the WCI athletics field, across the Ironhorse Trail and up to Civic Drive. (Pictured here are backpacks the kids leave when they enter the store en masse.)

A few other parents had the same idea–to pick up their kids at 7-Eleven, instead of braving the pickup lanes in front of the school or along North Civic Drive. Well, why not head to 7-Eleven a 3 p.m.? It seems like a good time for a Diet Coke fuel-up. … You can pick up the latest People, Entertainment Weekly, or Vanity Fair (or even Star and Enquirer), sit in your car, and wait for your kiddo to arrive. …

My son said the day went well and that he even liked middle school more than elementary school. So far.

Just prior to picking my son up, I was listening to the Gil Gross show on KGO Am 810 Radio, and the topic of his show was: “It is back to school time and Gil asks, what are your worries, as a student or parent, about starting a new school year.”
Not surprisingly, his question was prompted by the arrest Monday of a 17-year-old former student at San Mateo’s Hillsdale High School for coming on the campus, armed with chain saw and sword, and detonating pipe bombs. The boy, who is being held without bail and facing eight felony counts, apparently planned to murder his former chemistry teacher and to hack to death those who survived the explosions he set off.

Believe it or not, and in the wake of this incident, an armed student nursing grudges and coming onto my son’s campus to commit a Columbine-like massacre is not at the top of my worries. That’s because, such incidents are really not as common as our 24/7 news-cycle would suggest.
It turns out–again, statistically–that there are more common threats to our kids’ safety and health that we should worry about. Or not worry about. …
Here is my list, in regards to my son, starting at a big new school:

–That he’ll feel left out, or be made fun of or be bullied
–That he’ll make others feel left out, made fun of, or bully them.
–That he’ll feel overwhelmed by such a big campus, and so many kids.
–That he’ll feel awkward with himself, his own body, being in his own skin
–That he’ll start to doubt his own self-worth.
–That he’ll feel disengaged from what he’s being taught, either because of the way he’s being taught, or because of something going on with him.

Other, more typical (?) or general (?) worries of parents of tweens and teens:
–Early exposure, experimentation with alcohol or other drugs
–Early exposure, experimentation with sex, including, as we’ve been warned by experts, oral sex, “sexting,” etc.
–Depression and anxiety about academics
–Depression, anxiety, and worse about life in general (As I’ve disclosed in previous posts, we do have our history of such issues in our family. … Then again, what family doesn’t?)
Then again, maybe my son is doing okay, just fine, and my worries are the result of my “projecting” or some other such psych-babble-speech. Maybe I need to relax, and leave him to explore the big world on his own, even if the big world, at this point in his life, is made up of the scary universe of a suburban middle school.

3 thoughts on “Middle school started. I’m still worried, and I’m not alone, as a parent, about worrying …

  1. I worry all the time. I divert my worry with other projects, but today is definitely a 2 valerian and hit the pillow kind of night.

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  2. I think you guys are overreacting, and your kids will pick up on these fears and lose self-confidence. It's just middle school in their familair neighborhoods, if with a bunch of new kids to make things more interesting. Jeeze. It's not sending your kid to Kabul or Baghdad. You're on media overload.

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