Answers from YouthZone |

Answers from YouthZone

Deb Van Hoorelbeke

What issues do parents of adolescents specifically deal with when their children return to school? I have spoken to several teachers, parents and even some students regarding this issue. As your children become older it becomes more challenging to stay involved in his/her education and still feel needed. At the same time, it becomes critical that you do stay involved. For this reason, you must find creative ways to be involved and build relationships with your children’s teachers.1) Teacher relationships: It is important that you as the parent engage in a positive relationship with your child’s teachers. This opens the communication lines regarding many possibilities during the upcoming school year. You can be a great role model for your child in the way you speak about his/her teacher. You must also be very careful about what you do with the information your child shares with you about his/her teachers.2) Peer relationships: Children are trying to “fit in” with their peers and are trying on different hats to see where they fit. It is important to make every effort to get to know your child’s friends without giving up your expectations for your child. I often say, “Go with your gut instinct.” If your child is asking to spend time with a group of peers, take the following into consideration: Do they have a solid plan, will the activity be supervised by adults, and what are the ages of the kids. If your child is being “responsible” then he/she can receive “privileges.” Do not be afraid to set limits.3) Organization: As your child enters middle school and or high school it becomes even more critical for him/her to be able to prioritize and organize assignments. You want your child to do these things without your having to nag or hassle. As a parent ask yourself, “Whose problem is this?” Naturally you want your child to succeed in school; yet it is critical that after giving your child the proper tools to be successful, you step back as a parent and offer your “consulting services” opposed to your “nagging services.”4) Be involved! As a parent there are many ways to be involved in your child’s school. Many parents are extremely busy with demands on their own schedules; however, you can communicate with the teachers to find out how you can specifically be involved. It is important to attend parent/teacher conferences, check out the computer to update yourself on the attendance of your child as well as any grades that are posted. If there have been any major changes in your family over the summer, it is good to make the school counselor or the principal aware of these changes. Working with the administration will allow them to watch for changes in your child’s behavior or grades and address the issue depending on the situation.Deb Van Hoorelbeke is a senior counselor and parent program coordinator for YouthZone.Need some help, check out YouthZone’s Web site for upcoming Parent classes starting at the end of September. YouthZone also offers a parent consultation, parent coaching and parent phone help. Give us a call. 945-9300, 625-3141, 927-1545, 920-5702.If you have a question you would like to ask YouthZone, contact us at you have a question you would like to ask YouthZone, contact us at

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