Research shows that parental involvement with their children while in school has a substantial influence on their academic success. According to the Center for Public Education, creating “a partnership between parents and school has a significant impact on student achievement.” Ideally, this includes attending school events and conferences, volunteering whenever possible, and interacting with school advisory panels in decision-making processes.
This also means letting your child know what your (and the school’s) expectations are, watching their study habits, and keeping tabs on who their friends are and who they are spending time with. As the new school year begins, conversations that you should have with your teen or tween should focus on several different areas.
Be aware of your student’s school and extra-curricular activities to make sure they are not overextending themselves. In today’s competitive society, students often feel pressured to enhance their schedule of activities to get into their college of choice, increase their chances for a sports or academic scholarship, or simply because they want to keep up with all of their friends. As a parent, you can help them learn how to prioritize and establish boundaries.
Pay attention to how your teen or tween is dressing for school, especially since clothing is such a powerful way for them to communicate. If your daughter’s outfits are too trashy, or your son can’t seem to keep his pants pulled up, this may indicate they are trying to attract the wrong type of person, rebelling against you or the school, trying to impress their friends, or simply do not understand what’s appropriate. Before jumping into the closet to fling things out, talk to them and try to get inside their head to see what the motivator is regarding their odd sense of fashion.
Many tweens and teens get involved with drugs because of peer pressure, so it’s important to keep the lines of communication open. Studies show that kids whose parents talk to them about substance abuse are 50 percent less likely to use drugs. When kids feel good about themselves they are less inclined to become involved with drugs and alcohol, so frequently offer positive reinforcement to enhance your child’s feelings of self-worth.
Studies show that most school bullying occurs inside the school, making it a serious problem that can have lifelong consequences. More often than not, kids will not tell anyone if they are being bullied because of the fear of reprisal. Also, shame and humiliation add to the situation making a child feel even more isolated. It’s important to talk about bullying with your child so they will be prepared and feel safe turning to you for help.
Managing stress are common issues that many families experience. By paying attention to your child’s schedule, exercise, diet, and sleep patterns, you can help them from becoming too overwhelmed with school, sports, and activities. If you have any persistent problems or concerns, speaking with a doctor or mental health professional is advised.