Make a difference by getting involved with school
Even a little involvement by parents and family can make a difference in a teen's education. It isn't hard. You can tour the school to get a better understanding of what your teen is talking about. Or attend school events, especially those involving your teen. You can attend workshops for families or offer to plan one on a topic you think is important. Above all, keep in touch with your teen's teachers and ask how you can help at home.
Help your teen develop executive skills
Does your teen constantly hand assignments in late, or procrastinate until there's no time left then rush and hand in sloppy work? Motivation may not be the issue. Your teen may be missing "executive skills." These planning and organizing skills are among the last to develop. To help build them, teach your student to make checklists, to minimize workspace clutter and to use visual reminders, like a big calendar.
Teach your teen a process for solving problems
To succeed in school and become capable adults, teens need to learn to resolve problems for themselves. Teach your teen this six-step process to make problem-solving manageable: 1. State the problem in your own words. 2. Brainstorm a bunch of solutions. 3. Write down the pros and cons of each solution. 4. Choose a solution. 5. Try out your solution. 6. Evaluate. What did you learn?
Steer your teen's urge to explore in a positive direction
Teens are excited about trying everything life has to offer. This is often positive. But sometimes it can mean trying drugs, alcohol or sex. To steer your teen's desire to explore in positive directions, suggest signing up for a class that sounds interesting or trying a new sport that looks fun. Just make it clear that exploration often involves responsibility. Getting a part in the play means seeing the show through.
Think of yourself as a schoolwork coach, not a teammate
Schoolwork is your teen's responsibility. So instead of being an active participant in homework, think of yourself as a coach. To help your teen focus on the task ahead, ask specific questions, such as "What reading do you have for English tonight?" Encourage your student to work independently, but stay nearby to answer questions or help with review. And if an assignment is confusing, urge your teen to ask the teacher about it.
Talk about emotions with your teen
It can be hard for teens to focus on schoolwork when their minds are full of conflicting thoughts and feelings about events in their lives. To help your teen sort things out, try sharing your own feelings. Start by saying things like, "I feel good when I …" or "It hurts me when … ." Then ask what makes your teen feel good (or sad, or angry). Talking about emotional topics can help students cope and let them refocus their attention where it needs to be.
Keep teaching your teen important lessons
Parents of teens often feel like their kids would rather listen to anyone else but them. But the lessons you teach stick even when you're not around. They can give your teen the strength, for example, to say "no" to things that feel wrong. And if your teen does give in, reinforce the lesson in a straight-forward way, without put-downs. Your words can provide the strength your teen needs to say "no" next time.
Encourage actions that help stop cyberbullying
Teens spend a lot of time texting their friends and communicating on social media. Not surprisingly, many bullies use these same digital channels to harass other students. Students can be effective leaders in preventing cyberbullying. Ask your teen to report any hurtful messages to a trusted adult. Your teen can also talk with other students and encourage them to agree that bullying is unacceptable.
Parents of teens must wear many hats
Teachers know that the same approach doesn't always work with every student. In much the same way, you may need more than one approach when working with your teen. Sometimes, you need to be an observer and let your teen learn by taking responsibility for personal choices. When your student is working through problems, you can be an adviser or a negotiator. And when health and safety is at risk, you must be a director and call for action.
Connect with other parents at school
This year, make an effort to get to know other students' parents by volunteering and attending school events. Then exchange contact information with the parents you meet. That way, when your teen tells you that "everyone" is doing something, you'll be able to get a second opinion. And if you have concerns, you'll probably find parents who have faced similar situations and can offer some suggestions.
Renew your commitment to supporting attendance
There's no question that student achievement goes hand in hand with good attendance. Learning builds on itself day by day, and it's often hard for students to catch up on missed lessons. Don't allow your teen to miss school for a part-time job or family vacations. Students shouldn't stay home to finish homework or study for a test, either. Limit absences to times of illness or quarantine, family emergencies and religious observations.
Just a short message to inform everyone that the threat that was made yesterday toward Webster County High School on an Instagram post has been resolved. The individual responsible for the threat has been identified and taken into custody. We would like to thank our local law enforcement agencies for all of their hard work and quick response. As always we ask that you continue to monitor your child’s use of social media and report any suspicious activity immediately to the authorities. Thanks and have a great day.
Take these steps if your student is struggling
Don't wait to act if your teen is struggling in school. Have a talk together to identify what is causing the most difficulty. If it is a class, encourage your student to ask the teacher for help. If the situation doesn't improve, contact the teacher yourself and ask about tutoring options. At home, be sure to recognize when your teen is making an effort, and acknowledge small successes on the way to larger ones. Parent recognition boosts students' belief in their ability to reach goals.
Help your teen set goals for a successful year
The start of a new year is a great time for students to set new goals. Sit down with your teen. Discuss the successes of the fall, and ask what your student would like to improve in the coming months. To be effective, goals should be specific and realistic. Your teen's list might include things like: earning at least a B in chemistry, keeping class notes more organized, making the varsity soccer team or volunteering at the community center once a week.
Resolve to get connected at school
Do you know the name of the school principal? Your teen's teachers? It's important to know where you can turn when a problem crops up. Make a New Year's resolution to volunteer for a school activity your teen cares about. While you're at it, make an appointment to meet the principal and a few teachers. The more connected you are, the smoother your teen's journey through school will be.
Have your teen account for spending to boost financial literacy
Learning to manage money boosts your teen's math and life skills. Every time she spends money, have her write down: the day of the week, the amount spent, the item bought, where it was bought, whether it was a "need" or a "want," whether the purchase was planned or made on impulse, and who she was with. At the end of the month, she can analyze her spending habits and plan for better spending.
Create a study routine that works for your teen
Help your teen use his study time more efficiently by establishing an effective routine. Ask him to consider these questions: "Where do you like to do homework?" "What are the distractions in that room?" "Do you like to sit at a desk or sit on the floor?" "When are you most alert?" "How many breaks do you take?" Then, help him develop an optimal homework routine based on his answers.
Emphasize the importance of attending every class
Teens don't decide to drop out of school in just one day. They check out little by little, until they feel so disconnected that they decide not to return. It usually starts with skipping classes. If your teen has started skipping, talk about the importance of attendance. Say that you have confidence in your teen's ability to learn, but that going to class is an important part of the process.
Serve up support at regular family meals
Daily family meals are a great way to make it clear that your teen can count on you. In one survey, teens said eating meals with their families made them feel important and loved. They felt that they could talk to their parents if they had a problem. Discussion around the table let them know that their parents cared about their schoolwork. Enjoy the positive benefits that come from regular family meals.
TV shows and videos can make serious topics easier to discuss
You know when your teen sits down to watch a favorite show that she'll likely be in one place for at least 20 minutes. This screen time is a great opportunity to talk with her about controversial issues. Consider watching a program together that involves something you want to talk about, such as drugs, sex or peer pressure. Your teen may feel safer discussing these issues in relation to a fictional character than to her own life.