Once Your child gets to High School
Be involved. It’s a great idea to attend parent meetings and learn as much as you can about the curriculum and assignments. Contact teachers or the school counselor if you have questions. Don’t assume that, now that your child is in high school, s/he can handle things on their own. Attend school events or volunteer for a committee. Stay connected to the school to really know what’s going on, because your child is not likely to tell you!
Course selection: listen to the experts. It’s critical to pay attention to any teacher recommendations for courses. They work with their students day in and day out and they know how that student learns, completes work, and performs on tests. I’ve heard many parents say, “but I know Johnny can do this” and my immediate response is, “I agree that Johnny can do this, but will he?” Parents need to be realistic, yet supportive, about their kids. Talk to the previous teacher, talk with the school counselor, and look at past grades and habits. Then choose courses that will stretch your child a bit, but not overwhelm him.
Help with the balancing act between academics, athletics, and social life. We want our children to be successful students, to feel connected to their school, and to have friends and activities for fun times, but it all has to be carefully balanced. First, school should be a student’s priority. It’s critical to have a set time and place to study and do homework. Insist that your child does the homework. After all, practice makes perfect.
Be a parent, not a pal. In high school there will be parties, movies, and just hanging out. Set reasonable expectations regarding how often you want your child to go out. Monitor who they are with and where they are going, as well as what they are doing. You will be labeled “over-protective” but that’s ok. Be a parent, not a pal. Setting firm boundaries and expectations, demanding respect and courtesy, and allowing natural consequences for screw-ups will actually be appreciated by your kids.