Seven Ways to Help Your Teen in School

Today I read an article by Will Snipes that I wanted to pass along:


The middle school and high school years represent some of the most challenging years for a teen. Not only are academics in play, but all the other areas of teen development. These seven tips can help you stay connected to your teen both academically and socially.  

  1. Spend intentional time together. This could be as simple as turning off the radio in favor of some conversation in the car or making sure family meals still happen. Either way, try to ask questions without prying. Creating intentional moments to connect will pay off in truly understanding your teen.
  2. Check assignments. Although middle school creates a growing sense of independence, students still need accountability. Look through notebooks and ask questions about directions and due dates. Do your homework by signing papers and returning parental correspondence on time.
  3. Encourage organization. Teens juggle multiple classes, assignments, and a multitude of paperwork. If you have a disorganized teen, help them get organized by purchasing an organization system to fit his needs. Help them learn which papers need to be saved and which can be discarded. 
  4. Know your teen’s friends. Transition years bring new friends into the mix. Take the time to get to know these new friends and their families. Invite them over and always make your home a place where kids can feel comfortable hanging out. Look for opportunities to minister to new friends and new families.
  5. Get involved at school. There is a big drop-off in parent involvement from elementary school to middle school and especially at the high school level. Suddenly, it’s no longer quite so “cool” to have your mom or dad around. At the same time, parents need to be a visible presence, so find a way to volunteer. Get to know your teen’s teachers. Let them know that you want to be informed and involved.
  6. Increase responsibility. Teens are certainly busy with school and extra-curricular activities, but they need to also help out at home. By giving your teen responsibilities at home, you will help grow a stronger sense of independence. Give your teen some options and then stress “working together toward a goal as a family” when it comes to completing duties or tasks.
  7. Promote student involvement. Encourage your teen to stay involved in church activities and to try to get involved with a sport or hobby. Help them find a healthy place to connect with peers and adults who can push them in the right direction.  

–Will Snipes spends his summer speaking at various youth camps and events. He then returns each fall to his full-time job as a middle school teacher and coach in Traveler’s Rest, South Carolina.


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