Parenting Through The High School Years – As your teen approaches the high school years, it’s often easy to see changes in his attitude, mind, and body. They may want to spend more time with their peers and less time at home, may not be open to sharing their thoughts and feelings, and are clearly growing into the body of a young adult. However, as parents, the appropriate ways to manage these changes and help your child develop may not be so clear.
Because raising a teenager comes with its own set of challenges, it can be confusing and exhausting for both you and your child. The good news is that this is a common feeling among parents, so here are some tips you can use to guide your child through these years.
Parenting Through The High School Years
When a teen withdraws, yells, or acts in unpredictable or emotional ways, it’s easy to feel attacked or hurt. “A teenager’s brain is not fully developed,” says Judy Baumstein, LSCW, a licensed therapist at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Therefore, we must understand that sometimes they act emotionally, irrationally or impulsively. It is normal for teenagers to react emotionally, to be difficult to answer or to make quick decisions. If you know it’s common and more likely to happen, you’re less likely to take it personally. It’s not about you – it’s normal teenage behavior.
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It’s very frustrating when a teenager doesn’t do what their parents want or breaks a rule. That’s why it’s okay to be a parent, let your child know what you expect of him and what the consequences are for not doing it. “Setting clear expectations and setting limits will help your child learn limits and expectations for their behavior,” Baumstein says. Not only can this make for a more peaceful home, but it also prepares your child for success after school, where expectations and consequences are heavier.
Tie your expectations to actual outcomes, Baumstein advises. For example, if you want your child to do a chore, tie it to something that is important to them. If they want to go to a friend’s house, they have to clean their room first.
Be clear about your expectations and then be consistent and firm with them. It is your responsibility to meet expectations. Your child has the choice to comply or not, but he needs to know that you will consistently enforce expectations and limits. Otherwise, they will continue to push the boundaries.
Teens’ lives are very busy—between sports, school, and friends—so finding time to connect with them can be challenging. When teenagers no longer need to hang out with their parents, it becomes even harder to find that connection with family. Be intentional about creating natural opportunities with your child.
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Instead of saying, “Oh, we need to talk,” plan family meals, take the dog for a walk, or go grocery shopping together. In this way, the conversation becomes more natural instead of forced and stressful.
One of the ways teenagers learn is to make mistakes and then see how things go. They need to be able to make a decision and then process it for what it was. Through failure, teens can learn to be more responsible, adapt to situations, and not be afraid to try new things.
One thing you can do to help your child is to let them make their own decisions (within reason) and live with the consequences, good or bad. Loosen the leash a little. Let your child decide whether to bring an umbrella on a rainy day, take a harder class at school, or do a summer job. So if they come home drenched in the rain, over-challenged, or frustrated with their decisions, you can help them process their decisions and learn from them.
Protecting a child from pain and mistakes does not allow him to develop the skills he needs to manage his life as an adult.
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Our children notice what we do, even though they probably don’t recognize it. That’s why it’s so important to be a good role model for your teen.
You will also have a greater impact if you can fit family time into the day. Baumstein says being together this time should feel real. “It’s about doing what works for your family.” It should be a time when your teen can share about their day, hear about your day, and talk openly without any judgment or pressure.
Whether you want to improve communication within your family, help your children develop a healthy relationship with food, learn various safety tips, or strengthen your children’s emotional health, we are here to help.
To provide the most relevant content to your family, tell us your child(ren)’s birth date or expected birth date. Eighth grade is an incredible time of late adolescent development, fueled by deep curiosity, learning to think critically, and developing into a full-fledged adult. Except there’s one more thing on the agenda first: high school. And of course with high school comes a whole new agenda.
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Not sure how you can help prepare your child for high school and the upcoming transition? Las Vegas Day School is here to help you every step of the way. Here are 10 ideas:
A healthy reading routine is more than a place and time for your child to read. It should also be free of distractions, well organized and include regular study breaks. Studies show that studying for 20 minutes followed by a five-minute break works best for most students.
Organization can include everything from writing down daily goals and helping her break tasks into smaller tasks to having a study buddy in each class to maximize their participation.
It is important for your student to feel confident throughout the school year, and positive social interaction helps with this. Talking about things like encouraging eye contact, asking questions, responding to emotional cues, recognizing your own limits, and being a good role model for your child will help promote a better sense of positive identity and more social interaction with peers.
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Many schools have days or times when parents can check out the school at the beginning of the school year. If your child’s school does not offer this, please contact your child to arrange travel. Knowing the lay of the land makes you a more understanding and confident parent.
Get to know the teachers your child interacts with every day. Building rapport with teachers and showing your efforts for student success is critical to supporting your new high school student. Research has shown that parents are more involved in their children’s education and use the school’s ideas on how to help and support their children.
Middle school requires significantly more organization and prioritization skills than high school. There are many ways you can help your student develop time management and prioritization skills.
It’s important to develop ways to manage time and priorities that work for your child. Some strategies are very effective, while others are not. A strategy that may not work for you may work for your student. Maintain support and encouragement.
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Try to make time for family, family dinners, game nights, etc. This is not the time to discuss homework. Rather, these are times when you talk about family memories and create new ones, watch your child grow up for a few moments here and there, and model the importance of family. There are times when extracurriculars or other activities may take away from your family time, but if that’s the case, reschedule that time with your family. Family time is sacred.
The purpose of this moment is to instill not only good habits and values, but to create an expectation that family always comes first. No two families are alike, and this expectation will vary greatly from home to home, but the emphasis should be on spending time with family, loving and caring for each other.
Extracurricular activities, such as music, club, sports, or theater, can help your child learn skills, effective time management, and how to pursue their interests. Some extracurricular activities can help your child get a college scholarship. These activities also give them a chance to try something new.
It is especially important to support your child in these activities, not the activities themselves. If they hate the French club after a few weeks of being involved with it, give them a chance to leave. Be patient and support. Few of us get everything right on the first try, and it’s important for students to learn that trial and error is acceptable.
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Many schools make it easy to track your child’s progress by providing up-to-date reports on grades, behavior problems, and activities in and out of the classroom. Be sure to familiarize yourself with your child’s report card. Get to know your students’ teachers and keep in touch with them. If your child is struggling