Avoiding Last Year’s Mistakes
OK so, it’s that time of year again, your teen is off to complete yet another year of high school and your mind has been kicked into high gear wondering:
- Will they do better than last year?
- Will they take their homework/assignments more seriously?
- Should I start a new house rule banning video games or T.V during the week?
- Will they hate me for it?
- What if they start to rebel?
It’s a lot, I get it.
Now, although the questions seem endless and we can’t even begin to answer them all in this one post. There are some things you can begin to implement at the beginning of the year, that will be sure to have a positive impact on your teen both in and outside the classroom.
One of the biggest questions I get from parents is
“How do I get them to take me seriously without jeopardizing our relationship?”
The truth is, this can be a very fine line to cross with young adults, but I have 5 tip that can begin to shed some light on how to accomplish this the safest way possible.
1. Remember you are their parents, not their friends.
I promise, I mean this in the most sincere way possible but, sometimes when we build really awesome relationships with our kids, this can be easy to forget. The important thing to remember is that this does not mean you need to turn into a raging bull every now and again (serious, they will start to think you are bipolar). Ultimately, you want what is best for them and your actions kinda need to reflect that. Some of your may think you are doing this now but, saying yes whenever they ask to head out to the nearest party, is not what I mean here. Teens need to hear the word “no!” As long as you have a valid reasons as to why you are saying no, and share those reasons with your teen. Deep down, after all the huffing and puffing, they will get over it because they know it is not coming from a bad place which leads me to my next tip.
2. Set out clear expectations at the beginning of the year.
With every family, this will look a little different. For some, a quick family meeting or talk will suffice. While for others, you will need to a bit more slick than that. Now, I’m not saying to start sending subliminal messages, because this directly goes against the idea of being CLEAR but, you may have to spread out your expectation into mini conversation as opposed to one big one. For example, maybe it’s Friday night and you decided to stay in for some pizza and Netflix. Once the movie is over and you send them to bed remind them that you “still expect that assignment to be complete by the END of the weekend.” By doing this, you child knows that having fun is ok, but school work has to come first in your house. My next tip is..
3. Get actively involved.
For some of you, your teen may struggle with accountability in regards to homework completion or submitting assignments to
teachers on time. Let me be the first to say, you do not want the school year to fly by only to find out that they have 3 assignments past due, during parent teacher interviews. It’s going to be your job in the next few weeks to figure out which teachers assign regular homework, and how offten you child can expect to have any assignment in their class. Even when you aren’t sure if something is due, ask them “How is English going, got an essays you are working on”. This may even involve you sitting down with your teen (at least once a week) while they complete homework. Read things over, ask for them to make the necessary edits and read it over again. When you become your child’s MVP, you will strat so find them seeking you out as opposed to the other way around.
4. Communicate with Teachers
Believe it or not, teachers are insanely busy and have overwhelming large classrooms sizes. Keeping in touch with teachers from the beginning of the school year sets the tone for the remaining of the semester. You can clearly outline your expectations of your child as a student, and when you feel a phone call home may be warranted. At this point, there is no need to let your teen know that you have “reached out” to teachers because this is more so for your to form a relationship with your child’s educators as opposed to you just trying to “cramp their style” (thats how they may look at it). Being a high school educator myself, I can tell you “involved” parents is something I see less and less each year but, for parents who are, I make sure to check in every now and again, especially, if I start to see their child falling behind. Lastly, my final tip is…
5. Be yourself!
Being a more conscious parent doesn’t mean you need to become a different one. The relationship you built with your child is not something that will easily be broken, unless you chose to stop nourishing it. So, if your norm was having “girl talk” or “boy talk” before, continue to do so. If you had certain fun activities like playing videos games or having family board game night, continue to do so. If you would typically laugh whenever dad was lost because he didn’t understand your “inside joke” continue to do so.
The point is, parenting this school year doesn’t need to drastically change for you and your teen, but some small changes may go a long way.
Sincerely Ms. P