How to Help Teens Get Ready for School Success

Follow these tips to help your teen have a great school year (photo credit: BigStockPhoto.com)

Follow these tips to help your teen have a great school year. (photo credit: BigStockPhoto.com)

The new school year is upon us and our teens need more than new clothes and a package of pens to get the school year off to a great start. Teens are experiencing higher levels of stress than ever and 27% of them are experiencing extreme stress according to the latest Stress in America survey. Parents can make a difference in how teens handle that stress. Whether your teenager is making their way through middle school, starting high school, or taking the first steps of their senior year, there are things you can do to help them be successful from the very beginning of the school year.

  1. Focus on Being their Best Rather than the Best

All teenagers are under a lot of pressure and often, some of that pressure is coming from parents who expect their children to be the best at everything they do. It is important for parents to remember that being the best you can be is not the same as being the best there is. One is supportive and encourages teens to push themselves and to reach high and the other sets up unrealistic expectations that can damage the teen’s self-esteem and their relationship with their parents. Not everyone can have straight A’s or be the captain of the football team, but everyone can do their best at what they do. Keeping the focus on doing their best will encourage them rather than leaving them discouraged and you disappointed.

  1. Be a Role Model

Your teenager will take cues about how to handle difficult peers, challenging teachers, and conflict with others from how you handle these things in your own life. If you are always complaining that your boss is an “idiot” or making fun of people you work with, you are showing your teenager that these are appropriate ways to interact with superiors and peers. Make sure you are setting the right example and modeling tools and strategies your teenager can use to handle the difficult relationships and encounters they will experience at school.

  1. Encourage Positivity

There are many things about middle school and high school that your teenager isn’t going to like and learning to remain positive when negative things happen is a life skill that will benefit them well beyond their school years. Help them learn to see the positive side of negative circumstances and to focus on what they can do rather than what they can’t. Building up these skills will make them better problem solvers and make them more resilient when things don’t go the way they want them to go.

  1. Promote a Drama-Free Environment

Teenagers and drama go hand in hand and no family can escape the teenage years completely drama-free but that doesn’t mean you need to make your house drama central. Some parents think that in order to have a close relationship with their teen they need to be knee-deep in their world, hashing out the latest gossip or supporting their teen as they take sides as friendships fall apart and come back together. But in truth, you, your teen, and your family will be better off if you can stay above the drama and help your teen to spend as little time as possible in the ‘drama-zone’. While this may be a part of the teenage years, it doesn’t have to dictate them.

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