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I can’t tell you how many parents I’ve talked to that take a ‘hands-off’ approach to their child’s education once they reach high school. They seem to think that it is best to leave children alone since they are almost out of the house. Although the needs for high school students are different from elementary students, the need is still present. There are lots of ways that parents can support high school children. Granted, that support will be different, but it still is necessary. Here are some ways for you to help your child have the most beneficial high school experience:
1) Keep the lines of communication open with your child. Peer pressure is no joke. High school teenagers are going through a multitude of emotions and experiences, it is critical for them to have parents/guardians on whom they can depend. Yes, your child may not want to talk to you. Your child may not want to have anything to do with you at times. Don’t give up. Show your interest in their friends. Show interest in their activities. Show them that you care.
2) Advocate for your child. Teachers and counselors want your child to do well, but they must split attention between your child and over 100 other students. You can do your child a great service by staying on top of deadlines and transcript requirements. Make sure you know what classes your child needs to graduate, and that your child is in position to take them in a sequence that works best for your child.
3) Work with your child’s teacher. You know your child better than anyone else. Let the teachers know how to best serve your child. Let the teachers know of any medical concerns or learning disabilities/preferences. Often, it takes several weeks for teachers to receive special education paperwork. The sooner you can let teachers know what’s going on with your child, the better. Open the lines of communication with teachers as soon as possible. Work with your teachers to create the most effective team that will prepare your child for success after graduation.
4) Get your child involved in activities. There are activities in and outside of school that will pique your child’s interest. Find out what clubs, sports, and organizations are available, and get your kids involved! Push them to try new things. Help them to understand the importance of being a well-rounded individual.
5) Provide enrichment opportunities. Use weekends and summer breaks to allow students to engage in activities that will support what your child is doing in school without the sometimes ‘boring’ aspects of sitting in a classroom. Visit museums, zoos, and aquariums. Sign your child up for classes that will allow them to enhance a skill they already have. If your child wants to work in a particular career, try to find a mentor that can assist your child in future career planning. Find a way to develop your child’s outside interests. Help them see how success in school can translate to success outside of school.
Do you feel that it is important for parents to support their children in high school? What are some strategies you use to help your kids when they are almost adults?