What is a Back To School necklace?

by Jack Leo

The back to school necklace season has begun! While some kids are happy, others might be a little hesitant about returning to school. One warning sign that things are not as positive as they appear is the fact that some kids may not be as excited as they seem. It’s common to hear or see your teen refer “back–to-school necklace” It sounds almost innocent, almost sweet. However, it’s not as simple as it sounds. This euphemism describes the stress of returning home and is associated to some dark imagery. It might be a good idea to ask your teen about their thoughts about a back–to–school necklace. Expect to have a much heavier conversation than usual.

“Back-to-school Necklace” is a term that most people associate with the cute cards that come with matching necklaces and bracelets. These remind your kiddos that you are also wearing one and think of them every day. It’s just so sweet. So innocent. Gen Z is so much more. We’re probably called “cheugy”, because we even consider such things.

What is the back-to school necklace?

“Back-to-school jewelry” is a darker euphemism that describes the fear of returning school and the pressures associated with each year. It’s a noose that one wears around the neck. Seem alarmist? It’s like one of those things that only Boomers worry about. Try again. Urban Dictionary is a fan of this dark trend. “Back to school Necklace” can be described as “another name of a noose.” This is due the sense of despair you feel after school restarts.

Is “back–to-school necklace” really that worrying?

Anytime someone is able to think any related to self-harm and suicide, it’s worth reaching out to a professional in mental health. It is possible to have a conversation with your teen or teenage if they use the term “back–to–school necklace” and you are curious about their understanding.

Gen Z is dark-deep. They have spent almost all of their lives in a country at war. They have seen many school shootings, with often insufficient response from legislators and adults. They are bombarded daily with images of civil unrest in the US, police brutality, as well as the destruction that is happening on planet Earth right now. While someone more in the know might argue that things have always looked this bad, Gen Z’ers have seen more of it than anyone else thanks to social networking. You can’t escape the news just by turning off your TV as you did as a teenager. Our world is continuously connected to what’s happening, the good as well as the bad. The next generation’s tweens, teens and young adults will be more open-minded about the sad than those who came before them.

To put it another way, many children may see a “back to school necklace” as a sign that they are afraid. It is worth discussing that dread. They may not cry out for help as much as they learn from their peers.

How do you talk back-toschool necklaces?

Talking with your child about anything serious can be difficult. For parents who are “geriatric” millennials, it can be difficult to talk to your kids about serious topics. You may feel more like an afterschool student than a parent. Knowing this, you also know that your child will tend to be more serious if you take things too seriously. You can wait for your kid’s thoughts to come up with you, but it’s probably better to get on top of things. You should be careful. You could begin by asking casually “Hey, what do you think about this? I found this online and was intrigued.”

Your teen, tween, or even teen may look at you with a confused expression and say “It’s just not that deep.” You might be surprised at how many kids don’t find it so difficult. It is something you are familiar with. It wasn’t that long ago. While the language is dark, some children may interpret it more as a cynical exclamation than anything else. It may be a catchy and trendy way to say, I’m looking forward our third year as French.

Your relationship will have a significant impact on how you talk to your children. Even if you’re not very casual with your Gen Z, you could still be casual. You can take them to Starbucks (if they don’t think it’s too expensive) and ask: “Is the back school stress getting to you yet?” Yes, it was 100 years ago when I was in school. I always felt so much pressure after the first week back. 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. If you’re feeling stressed, you can unload your stress on me. If it feels natural, mention “back–to-school necklace” during your convo.

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