Parents want their kids to do well in school but teens often experience a period of time when their schoolwork suffers.
Parents can be an important source of support for teens. Encourage your teen to talk to you or another adult about what is bothering them.
Upheavals like a change of school, social problems, increased responsibilities, worries about the future, or changes in the use of alcohol or drugs are common issues related to poor performance that may need to be addressed.
Stay involved in your teen’s school experience by attending parent-teacher events and school activities (e.g., school performances, plays, and athletic events).
Help out with your teen’s class projects – don’t take over, but try to provide assistance. Both parents and teens can get frustrated so consider rotating which parent is involved and use shorter helping sessions.
Be supportive instead of critical. Focus on positive efforts to overcome problems.
If particular school subjects are the problem, talk to your school about a plan of action that may include a tutor (family friend or hire privately), or accessing extra resources.
For teens, going back to school usually means going to bed and getting up earlier than they would like. Keep in mind that as kids enter their teens they need more sleep, not less.
Get your teen used to going to bed and getting up earlier a few days before the first day back to school.
Try to avoid scheduling activities before the school day, and limit weekday evening social activities.
Encourage teens to make their lunch, pack their school bag and get their clothes ready the night before.
Allow your teen to sleep in late on weekends when possible (except if your teen has a health problem that makes a regular sleep-wake cycle every day a healthier choice).
Transition to High School
The transition from elementary or middle school to high school is difficult for many kids.
Help your teen find out as much as possible about the high school he or she will be attending.
Find out if your teen’s high school has a buddy or mentor system.
Talk with your teen about his or her expectations and concerns. Keep in mind your teen’s experiences may not be the same as your own.
Balancing a social life with school life can be difficult. Making friends at school and learning how to build relationships is an important part of your teen’s development.
Talk openly with your teen about the challenges of friendships and romantic relationships. If you feel comfortable you can share some of your own experiences.
Make your home a welcoming place for your teen and his or her friends – take an interest and try to learn more about them.
Encourage your teen to talk with trusted and responsible friends about their concerns.
Bullying at school is a serious problem and can, in extreme cases, result in injury or even death. If you suspect that your child is being bullied…
Reassure your child that you and the teacher will support him or her.
Talk to the teacher or person in charge.
Follow up on any action taken and remain involved in the decision making process. Check in often with your son or daughter about how things are going.
Keep in mind children may be reluctant to talk due to fear of embarrassment or further harm.
Sometimes problems with going back to school don’t go away on their own and may reflect a health problem. Talk to your family physician or health professional about any problems – especially if they are severe or do not resolve on their own after the first few weeks back.
Marina del Rey
West Los Angeles