Well, another school year is now underway.

The boys (and mom and dad) are settling into their new routine fairly well. I’m amazed at how easy this transition has been so far.

My oldest son is really coming into his own this year, filled with confidence and purpose. (Total transformation from the slightly awkward and unsure 6th grader of last year.) 

It truly warms my heart to see.

Because of his ADD and executive functioning challenges (not to mention naive innocence) I’ve always been a tad bit over protective of him.

And yet, he has a great sense of self and is turning into a confident young man. Such a relief!

Low self-esteem is one issue that I, myself, suffered from as a child. I viewed myself  as inadequate during much of my middle school years. This negative view permeated my every thought producing faulty (to say the least) assumptions and (what I recognize now as) a skewed world view. (Contrary to my belief at the time, middle school was not the be-all and end-all in the universe.)

Because self-esteem issues affected me so deeply, I am on high alert with my own children and their issues.

Growing up, we didn’t have a lot of money. We were the hand-me-down kids. Always wearing fashions a year or two too late. Always bringing the not-so-great lunch to school or paying for our lunch in pennies. I laugh at it  now, but I remember how bad I felt at the time.

With my own children, I try to do what I can for them (within reason) to help with the little self-esteem boosters. Cool shoes. New backpacks. Searching sales racks for THAT SHIRT that the boys just HAVE TO HAVE. I don’t go along with everything, but I do try to remember what it was like at their age.

One of the biggest joys for me as a parent in tackling this issue was being able to secure Invisalign braces for my oldest son. I dreaded the metal mouth phase, not only for the painful aspects but for the inevitable image issues. Look, I realize that metal braces are not the end of the world in regards to my child’s self-confidence but they sure have helped us navigate the waters easier. (Not to mention the fact that they have been way less painful.) We’ve sailed right through those issues and for that, I am thrilled.

Growing up, I wasn’t able to get braces. My parents couldn’t afford them. Truth be told, I’m actually thinking of getting some Invisalign for myself. And through my own research I find this interesting ditty – according to a new perception study conducted by Kelton Research for Invisalign, people with straight teeth are perceived as more successful, smarter and are more likely to land a job when competing with someone who has a similar skill set and experience. The study goes on to indicate that the alignment of teeth is a catalyst for assumptions regarding success, popularity, intelligence and general health.

Who knew it was that important? It makes me glad to know my children are on the teeth straightening track.

Disclosure: I’m part of the Invisalign Mom Advisory Board and my son is receiving free Invisalign treatment so that we could share our honest experiences.