Middle school and high school mean a different course of action. On one hand, parents are teaching teens to be independent at home. On the other hand, teachers at school are working to teach them to be independent learners. Out in society, they are expected to conform to yet another standard. With all the demands flooding in at once, teens may experience some difficulty and need an intervention to cope.
On the parent side of the equation, we see all this happening. We want to help. Our goal is to raise a child who can think, speak and care for themselves properly. Some teens will try to jungle it all, believe me. But they shouldn’t have to. I tell my teens all the time, “This is your time to learn, have fun, and enjoy life without the grown-up worries.” I want to share the following points for parents and teachers to consider.
Know Your Teen
By this stage in life, you most likely have figured out the type of learner your teen is: visual, auditory, read-write, or kinesthetic. If not, they should be aware enough themselves to tell you. Some may have more than one way that helps them. With homeschool and/or online school, I feel it is important to still do a check-in with your teen on how they are understanding their lessons. At their level of education teens are learning new material in a variety of topics. Sometimes they need help making the connections that would open up their understanding. As adults and teachers who have lived longer and have some experience, this is an opportunity to share our knowledge.
I have one teen who is mostly independent. She will seek out a video or lesson for something she may have trouble understanding. She is comfortable with her ability to perform well, and she looks laid back doing it. I have another teen who is cautious with learning. She wants to do exactly what needs to be done. This teen also benefits from verbal lessons, and may spend too much time contemplating over busy-work assignments. Sometimes their lessons come in a way that matches their individual style of learning. But, there are other times when we have to translate for them as parents.
We parents are the first teachers of time management. Our teens are learning about the value and strategies of time management as we rush them to appointments, leave for work, and complete our own projects. Time management is a skill that will benefit them now and later. I don’t agree with the weight of the load they are given at certain times, but I can teach them how to manage their day to fit it all in.
Plan Assignment Completion
I like planning things out. In college, I wasn’t one to wait until the last minute to do an assignment or paper. We teach our kids to value time in school that same way. There are too many instances when you look up and time has passed. Then, you ask the question, “Did I get something done?” I expect assignments to get more complex and progress as my kids get older. Managing time requires them to assess and plan out their assignments. I coach them to start larger assignments earlier in the week. This gives them plenty of space to get it done. One important piece to remember is to make sure there is time for rest, health, and fun. Balance is key.
Middle school and high school are big deals. It means our kids are growing up. They are independent in ways we knew were coming. They can fix a meal, dress themselves, clean up, and get along pretty well for the most part. But, the reality is they still feel and have stress. It’s up to us parents and teachers to let them know they are not alone.
Sometimes, as parents we are tempted to think life is easy for them, all they have to do is eat, sleep, play, and go to school. Stress is in their world too. We can lay out sustainable ways to cope with stress for them like, communication, exercise, reflection and meditation, maybe keeping a journal. Be present and engage with your teen on things that matter to them. Showing up could mean just sitting with them and helping them through a challenging assignment.
Soon our teens will be adults. That’s just the way time works. Value the opportunity to influence your teen to be the very best they can be.