Staying involved in your teen’s school activities
Young teens need you in their life more than they may admit (to you or themselves) — although they may want you present under different terms and conditions than they did previously. Some parents misread the signals that their children send and back off too soon, which can have an unintentional negative effect. Research shows that children of all ages do better in school when their parents are involved in their lives.
There is no such thing as the perfect parent. However, a parent (or guardian) that has discipline and structure in their household — is compassionate, understanding and involved in their child’s life — is much more likely to raise a child with the same qualities. These time tested tips may help you and your child with their journey through high school.
Help your child get organized. Many young teens are easily distracted. The amount of their school work and their extracurricular activities often increases at the same time they are going through a growth spurt, developing new relationships and trying to develop more independence. Young teens respond to these changes in varying ways, but many of them daydream, forget things, lose things and seem unaware of time. Some schools help students develop organizational skills. Others leave the task to you (the parent). Whatever the case, you can:
Go over your child’s schedule together to help evaluate if they have too much going on at once. Talk with them about setting priorities and dropping certain activities if necessary or rearranging the time of some of them.
Help them learn good study habits. Set a regular time or schedule for doing homework. Talk with them about their assignments. Make sure the teen understands what they’re supposed to do and when assignments are to be turned in. Make sure they have a calendar to record assignments, as well as a backpack and homework folders in which to tuck assignments for safekeeping.
Help your child get started when they have to do research reports or other big assignments, perhaps by taking them to the library or helping them find sources of online information from appropriate Web sites.
Help your child to avoid last-minute cramming by working out a schedule of what they need to do to prepare for the test.
Provide an environment at home that encourages learning and school activities. Provide a quiet time without TV and other distractions when homework assignments can be completed. If you live in a small or noisy household, try having all family members take part in a quiet activity during homework time. You may need to take a noisy toddler outside or into another room to play. If distractions can’t be avoided, you may want to let your child complete assignments in the local library.
Attend school events. Go to sports events, attend back-to-school night, PTA meetings,
concerts and awards events. Remember, though, that many young teens are often self-conscious and want parents to be present but in the background.
Monitor how well your child is doing in school. Report cards are one indication of how well your child is doing in school. But you also need to know how things are going in between report cards. For example, if your son is having trouble in math, find out when he has his next math test and when it will be returned to him. This allows you to address a problem before it mushrooms into something bigger. Call or email the teacher if your child seems to be slipping to figure out what you can do to help.
Remember you are there to help your teen learn to be independent so you shouldn’t act like a dictator. Allow them to learn through trial and error, which may mean suffering natural consequences when they fail to turn in an assignment. How they learn to handle stress and failure now will aid them in their adulthood.
Sources: Harvard School of Public Health, Colorado State University