Parents: What you say & do matters!
Parent Teen Matters is funded by the American Legion Child Welfare Foundation in partnership with SADD.
Parent Information from Prevention First (A guide for tips on how to talk to your children)
|10 TIPS FOR SURVIVING BACK-TO-SCHOOL AND OTHER LIFE TRANSITIONS|
|1. Start the Dialogue - if you know a milepost is coming up, talk to them about it, says Ron Arden, Life Navigator. Try saying:|
2. Let Your Child Vent - Listen to your child. Try not to interrupt with your running commentary. If you're thrown off guard by something your child says, tell her youll get back to her. Then talk it through with a spouse or friend and when the time is right readdress the topic with your child.
3. Ask Questions - My daughter Lauren never seems stressed about academics it appears to come easy to her. I mentioned this once, and was surprised to hear that it was not the case. She is stressed but she doesnt show stress like my other daughter. So, I learned the importance of checking in with my kids and probing a bit. Things are not often what they seem.
4. Eliminate Some of the Surprise - My colleague Denise Young Farrell suggests pointing out details of what's to come. "My daughter will soon be starting at new program at our local public elementary. When we walk by the school I try to tell her something new about what it will be like. Whether it's what entrance she'll use or where she'll play with her new friends. Just trying to eliminate some of the surprises, as there are sure to be some that sneak up on us!"
5. Help Them Get Organized - Michael Thompson, PhD, consultant, author, & psychologist, points out that middle school can be particularly challenging for boys. "Boys tend to be more to be more scattered. So that middle school is often a very upsetting transition for them because they cant keep track of their stuff...Moms and dads have to move in and help them with those kinds of organizational challenges in middle school."
6. Attend Parent Night - For parents of high school and college kids, I recommend taking advantage of the schools parent orientations as well as any brochures, info sheets and web resources help prepare and educate parents about these transitions. Some of the information is just common sense, but you may learn something. Also, by attending, you're sending your children a powerful message that you are engaged and that this is indeed an important time for everyone. Whats key, I think, is finding the time to share with the child what you learned. You may get the roll of the eyes and Yea, yea, but its worth the effort, and its easy to do.
7. Establish Guidelines - It's important to set up rules and guidelines anytime of the year but during times of transition it's essential. Know where they are, who they're with and what they're doing. If your child is heading to college, Vanessa Van Petten, author, consultant and youthologist suggests setting specific boundaries with your child around topics like money, grades and keeping in touch.
8. Make Time to Connect - Parent Partner and mom Lorraine Popper suggests being supportive of your childs interests during times of transition. "If theyre into a certain type of music, get interested. Show that you care about their life. Spend a little more time together, do activities that they like to do. Steve Paseirb, president and CEO of The Partnership at Drugfree.org, suggests scheduling family dinners or get-togethers every week and set it in stone just like sports practice. Use the time to catch up on whats going on in your kids life, including whats not going well. Stressed kids may feel isolated, which can lead to experimentation with drugs and alcohol. Let them know you love them too much to see them risk getting hurt by experimenting or using.
9. Give Them Independence - I feel we should give our kids some autonomy so they dont feel as if we are suffocating them, says Tracey Jackson. Then all they want is to get as far from us as possible. My colleague Claire Kellys daughter is starting high school in Manhattan this fall. This summer Claire let her and her older sister take the subway together from Queens to Manhattan to begin getting her used to the commute. On two occasions, she took the train herself. That was hard for me, explains Claire. But my daughter was so excited and proud of herself, I knew allowing her that bit of independence was worth it.
10. Be Aware of Red Flags - Be aware of any unusual behavior. Tessa Vining suggests asking yourself, "Are they isolating themselves? Are they locking themselves in the in their room and not letting you in? Are has their appearance changed? Are they looking a little bit more rundown? Do they seem a little bit more erratic in their mood? See warning signs and what you can do about it. See a list of warning signs of drug and alcohol use.
And lastly, as your kids prepare to go back to school, you can help them sail through this transition (and many others to come) by simply letting them know that youre always there to for them.
Source: "10 Tips for Surviving Back-To-School and Other Life Transitions." The Parent Toolkit Blog. The Partnership at DrugFree.org, 10 Aug. 2011. Web. 13 Aug. 2013.
DID YOU KNOW?
A recent survey by MTV showed that nearly half of teens named a parent as their hero.