As a parent living in 2020, there’s a good chance that few moments have gone by in the past month when your mind hasn’t been scrambling to decide what to do about school this fall.
The American Academy of Pediatrics is “strongly urging” all students to return to school as usual this fall. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention originally recommended the opposite, saying that online learning was the safest option. They’ve since updated their recommendations to align with that of the AAP and the White House.
To send or not to send, that is the question. And it’s one that Dr. Hope Seidel, a pediatrician in Cary, North Carolina, has gotten asked the most in the last several weeks.
With so many parents facing this “painful” struggle, Seidel, who is also a parenting coach, wanted to share her advice, with the hope that it would bring comfort to parents who are understandably fearful about the decision at hand.
In a now-viral Facebook Live video, Seidel says that while the question has been the same across the board, the circumstances are not.
“Some of you have kids with asthma. Some of you work full time and some of you stay home and are thinking about homeschooling. Some of you have kids with learning disabilities and some of our patients have food insecurities where they need to be able to go to school to be able to get a full belly,” she said.
“All of you don’t have anything in common when you call and ask me the question about school,” Seidel said in the video, except, she said, “fear of making the wrong decision.”
So when it comes to standing in the gap and addressing this fear that so many parents are carrying, Seidel’s advice is simple: “The decision that you make about school is the right decision.”
for those of you who want to know how i feel about school this year.
#trustyourself #nowrongdecision #fearisnotreal
Posted by Cary/Fuquay/Apex Pediatric Centers on Thursday, July 16, 2020
“There’s no wrong decision,” she says, adding that each choice carries its own set of risks and benefits, and all of the decisions come with a loss of what was. She also said that every decision has positive options that most parents likely won’t see the fruit of, until much later on.
“How you choose to think about the decision that you make, is what will make it right,” she says. “How you choose to think about it will create how you feel about it.”
“I know you think that advice sucks,” she says, adding that right now, it feels like the biggest decision you’ve ever had to make, “but it really isn’t.” She continues, “It’s only because you can’t see what the future holds for the choice you’re making that makes you feel afraid.”
Seidel says the only option is looking forward.
“We never have the answer of what the future holds,” she says, “You have no idea if the decision that you’re going to make is going to be a good decision or a bad decision.”
Ultimately, if the decision you choose winds up not being right for you and your family, “you’ll adjust,” she says, giving the example of a kid who goes through all of this work to get into the perfect college, only to go one semester and realize he hates it. What does he do? He transfers to a different college the next semester.
“If the option you choose isn’t working, take a pause and readjust,” she told Good Morning America. “Wouldn’t it be great to raise a generation of kids who see it’s ok not to be right and perfect all the time?”
Seidel encouraged parents to simply do the best they can, because fear and worry won’t solve this situation.