Kristin Bieber, Ph.D
Do you feel as though it is difficult to stay informed about what your teen is learning and whether or not he or she is meeting expectations? Do conversations about grades and homework between you and your teen frequently lead to arguments? If so, you are not alone. Typically, communication between parents and teachers becomes less frequent as students get older and transition to middle and high school. This is understandable: The older the student, the more responsibility he or she is given to complete assignments and manage time. However, as a parent, you still have an important role to play in your teen’s education. Establishing relationships with school personnel and being involved in school at home will help you and your teen successfully navigate transitions into middle and high school.
Striking a balance between increasing your teen’s responsibility and independence and maintaining your involvement in your teen’s school can be difficult. Even if the responsibility for completing homework rests on your teen, you will want to remain informed about his or her strengths and needs so that you can take action, if necessary. Establishing a positive relationship with school personnel, characterized by frequent, two-way communication, will help you stay informed about your teen’s performance.
Many parents only contact the school when they have concerns. Build a strong relationship with school personnel by making positive contact whenever possible. Show appreciation for the efforts the teachers and counselors are making to help your teen. Everyone benefits when relationships between home and school are positive, collaborative and bi-directional.
Here are some suggestions for taking a leadership role in school matters:
You can be involved in your teen’s school progress at home by taking these steps: