What is a Back-To-School necklace? It’s not as innocent as it sounds

It’s back-to-school season! Some kids may be downright thrilled, but older children might not be prepared to face the challenges of going back to school. A quick warning sign that things might not be as cheerful as they appear. A “back-to school necklace” is something your teen or tween might refer to. It’s almost cute, and it sounds innocent. It sounds innocent enough, almost sweet. But before you go to Target’s jewelry aisle, be aware that it isn’t as black-and white as you think. This is a euphemism that refers to the stress of returning school and can be associated with dark imagery. You might ask your teenager about their thoughts on a back to school necklace. Be prepared to have a more serious conversation than you might expect.

When you hear “back-to school necklace”, you think of the sweet little cards that have matching bracelets or necklaces. They remind your child that you are wearing one and that you are thinking of them when they get home from school. It’s so touching. So innocent. Let’s face it, Gen Z is more than that. They’re likely calling us “cheugy,” for even considering these things.

What is a back to school necklace?

The “back-to school necklace” is a dark metaphor for the fear of returning to school, and the associated pressures. This necklace is akin to a neck noose. Seem alarmist? You think it’s something only Boomers are concerned about? You might be wrong. Urban Dictionary even supports this sad trend. The “back-to school necklace” is simply another name for a noose. This is because of the feeling of complete despair when school resumes.

Are “back-to school necklaces” really so concerning?

Anyone who thinks of self-harm, suicide or any other related activity should be contacted by a mental health professional. Talking to your teen or tween about the “back-to school necklace” may be a good idea.

Gen Z is deep and dark. They have lived almost their entire lives in war-torn countries. They have witnessed numerous school shootings and often lack of response from adults or lawmakers. They have been bombarded with images of police brutality and civil unrest. Although a more mature person may say things were always this bad, it’s clear that Gen Z’ers have been exposed more to the news through social media. It’s not possible to escape the news by simply turning off the TV, as we did when we were teens. The news is constantly affecting our world, both the good and the ill. This is why the next generation of teens, tweens and young adults are more sensitive to the morose than previous generations.

This means that for many children, a “back to school necklace” can only signify dread. Yes, it is important to discuss dread. It may not be a cry for help, but rather a collection of slang from their peers.

What do you think about back-to school necklaces?

Talking to your child about any serious topic is difficult. You know what it’s like to start heavy conversations with your child and sound more like an afterschool friend than a parent. It is a common mistake to take things too seriously. This can often lead to your child pulling back even further. You could wait for your child to bring up the topic with you but it’s best to start it now. Be gentle. Start by saying, casually, “Hey, did you hear about this?” “I saw something online and was interested.”

Your teen or tween might answer your question with an eye roll and scoff. It might not be that deep for some kids. That back-to school dread is something you know. It was not so long ago that you felt it. Although the phrase is somewhat dark, some children might just use it as a cynical euphemism. It might be something they use to say, “I’m not looking forward for our third year in French,”

Your relationship with your children will determine how you speak to them. You can be casual with your Gen Z’er if you aren’t very casual 90% of the time. If they aren’t too fussy, you could ask them to go out to Starbucks and say “Is back-to school stress getting you down yet?” It was 100 years ago that I felt such pressure when I was in school. If they indicate they’re feeling it too, you can channel your inner-mom-from-an-after-school-special and say, “School can suck; I’m sorry. You can let me handle your stress if you need it. If you feel it’s natural, you can mention the term “back to school necklace” in your conversation.

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