How can Parents Support Children in their Adolescent Years?

Our next High School Coffee Morning will take place on Thursday November 10th at 9.00 in the Cafeteria. We will cover the topic of, ‘How can Parents Support Children in their Adolescent Years?’  The session is for any parent who would like some handy tips on how to support and nurture their children through the very demanding years of High School. Grade 9/10 Counsellor Robert Fronk and Dean of Students Daniel Johnston will cover topics such as, ‘School Work/Leisure Time Balance’ and ‘Setting Firm but Fair Expectations’ We sincerely hope that you can join us.

A theme for the year in High School is the formulation of genuine home/school partnerships in order to best support our students.  The ways in which schools and families interact can affect educational outcomes profoundly. Whilst we, in school, can provide challenging programs, highly qualified and trained teachers and excellent facilities we will not help students achieve ‘Personal Excellence’ without the support of an effective home environment. Home environment and parents’ support of the school can be made up of three factors:

  1. the style of parenting;
  2. parental control including discipline and the determination of the level of freedom afforded to children;
  3. communication between school and home.

There are numerous academic studies of how important the home environment is in determining academic success. I have listed some of the more readable and accessible ones below.  It is clear that whilst we cannot and should not interfere in how parents raise their children we in school can and should provide some advice to parents based on current research and real experience.

We hope to explore some of the areas of current interest over the coming months. Parents sharing their stories will help and school staff sharing their experience of working with hundreds of teenagers will build parents’ confidence.

These questions have all been asked:

  • How much should I discuss school -work and homework with my child?
  • How can I talk about grades and show an interest without also revealing my own fear?
  • Should I be banning the computer?
  • Should I be exerting influence over my child’s choice of friends or leisure activity?
  • Which experimental behaviours are normal and which are prohibitively dangerous?

Behind the desk in my office I keep two fading snap shots. They are photos of two students with whom I worked. One was raised in an authoritarian home environment., the other in a very permissive fashion. I will share their stories at our coffee morning as they serve as stark reminders of why we have to get this right!

It is very easy to forget that there is no easy solution to the problem of raising teenagers. There are very few useful guides on how to raise a teenager and the ones there are make depressing reading focusing on the nightmare scenarios of raising teens such as drugs, eating disorders, destructive behaviours and academic failure.  In an international community we should be confident that there are many approaches on which to draw, lots of experience and many many stories of teenagers who did just fine. I look forward to seeing you on November 10th.

Best wishes the High School Team

Some studies:

Rosenau, J.S. (1998) Familial influences on academic risk in high school: A multi ethnic study.

Fan, X and Chen, M. (2001)  Parental Involvement and students’ academic achievement: A meta-analysis: Educational Psychology Review.

Vollmer, J. (2010) Schools Cannot Do It Alone, (Enlightenment Press)