Supporting Your Teen at School

Your child spends almost one-third of their day at school, which makes it an important influence on their life. In the teen years, that influence likely grows as their friends opinions begin to play a more central role in their lives. One of the most powerful indicators of teenagers’ success in school is their connection to school—feeling like they belong at the school and are close to others there, including teachers. Attachment to school is associated with lower use of alcohol, cigarettes, and marijuana, as well as lower rates of sexual activity, fewer thoughts about or attempts at suicide, and lower levels of violent behavior.

Research shows that even in the teen years, parents who are involved in their child’s education improve their academic success. Yet many parents become less involved as their child reaches middle and high school. While your child may be breaking away a bit more as they reach the teen years and look for more independence, there are still ways for you to be involved. The extension office at the University of Minnesota has some suggestions:

  • Expect success
  • Communicate with teachers
  • Support student activities
  • Volunteer in the school
  • Involve both parents
  • Encourage your teen to tutor or mentor others
  • Recognize your teen’s academic accomplishments
  • Create a positive home environment that encourages learning
  • Establish quiet time every night for studying, reading, or writing
  • Provide extra support to your teen during transitional times
  • Talk with your teen about their school classes and activities and monitor their attendance
  • Keep a calendar that lists school events, projects, and activities, as well as family events
  • Use screens wisely
  • Know how and where your kids spend free time, especially after school

For more information on these points, see the full article from Minnesota extension.

8 Actions Parents Can Take to End Bullying

It can be difficult as a parent to help your child through being bullied, and even harder when it turns out your child is the bully. Add in cyberbullying, which wasn’t even possible when most of today’s parents were kids, and it can be easy to feel at a loss about what to do.

With recent studies showing that at least half of all children are directly involved in bullying either as the victim, perpetrator, or both, there’s a high likelihood that your child will come in personal contact with bullying. Think Kindnesshas a list of eight actions parents can take to end bullying:

  1. Talk with your kids—every day.
  2. Spend time and volunteer at your school.
  3. Be a good example of kindness.
  4. Learn the signs and symptoms.
  5. Create healthy anti-bully habits early.
  6. Establish household rules about bullying.
  7. Teach your children to be a good witness.
  8. Teach your child about cyberbullying.

The article has additional information on each of these pointsto help you take a pro-active approach to bullying with your child. In addition, your PTA may want to implement PTA’s Connect for Respectprogram at your school. The program provides your PTA with the tools to have a meaningful and productive conversation on bullying with both students and families.

Helping Your Child Deal with Peer Pressure

When your child first heads off to school, you are the most important person in their world and they look to you for guidance. Their teachers in the early grades fill that role as well. But by the time they turn 11, children start caring more about what their other kids think of them than what their parents or other adults think.

As their peers become more and more influential on their lives, some children may struggle with handling that peer pressure effectively.Great Schoolshas six tips to help you help your child resist peer pressureand follow the values your family is trying to instill in them.

  • Don’t overreact.
  • Talk about what makes a true friend.
  • Get to know your child’s friends.
  • Talk about what independence really means.
  • Role play peer pressure.
  • Model saying “No.”

The article has further advice on each of these six points.

Photo © 2013 by Tomunder Creative Commons license.

5 Key Skills for Academic Success

There are a lot of different skills that your child needs to develop in order to be successful at school. Great Schools! has a new article out on how to help your child learn the five key skills they need to succeed.

The article recommends starting with a simple conversation with your child—what are their goals, what subjects do they like, what class do they dread, and more. As you listen to your child, try to puzzle out which of the five key skills they are struggling with. Those skills are:

  1. Organization
  2. Time Management
  3. Prioritization
  4. Concentration
  5. Motivation

For each of those five skills, the article provides you with tips on how to support your child and improve their skill in that area. Keep in mind that your child may be reluctant to try new ideas, worry about failing, or think they are just can’t do a subject, but by praising their successes, you can help them build a growth mindsetthat will help them succeed.

Photo courtesy U.S. Air Force/Senior Airman Jaeda Tookes.