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A father has his arm around his young adolescent sonís shoulders while the son is confiding in him.

Helping Your Child Succeed

Keep lines of communication open with your child.

  • Talk with your child about everything. Adolescents want to talk to their parents, but they often don’t know how to begin.
  • Don’t be afraid to set high standards and expectations for your child. Explain and give reasons for your standards and expectations, using clear and straightforward language. Even though young adolescents like to push boundaries, they feel safer when their parents make expectations clear.
  • Sit down with your child and set boundaries, rules and consequences together. Young adolescents learn a lot about mature, responsible decision-making, problem-solving and conflict resolution if they see it modelled by their parents during discussion times.
  • Take time to cool down before reacting to something your child says or does that angers or upsets you. Some parents use a 10-minute cool-down rule to plan how they will handle a situation before responding or reacting.
  • Give your child a chance to restate a remark, or to redo an action, that’s not appropriate (ex: “Could you please say that again in a polite way?”).
  • Set up a family bulletin board to remind family members about important rules, dates and information. Post the school calendar on the fridge for all to see.
  • Make time to listen to your child. Bedtime may provide a good opportunity for your child to talk about his or her day, about plans for the next day, and about any thoughts or worries he or she may have.
  • Have family discussions about local, or world events or other news.
  • Set up a family journal, or a question-and-answer box, so your child has the option of expressing feelings or responding to questions or concerns in writing, instead of discussing them verbally.
  • Read school notices, newsletters and websites to stay informed about important dates and events at school.
  • Talk to your child about his or her friends and social life.
  • Encourage your child to talk to you, or to another trusted adult, about issues or concerns. Together with your child, identify another person he or she can go to for comfort, safety or advice when a parent is not available.
  • Ask your child what you can do to be a better parent.
“I want him [my dad] to know what I do in school, who I like, and what me and my friends do when we hang out. That would make me feel happier.”~ Middle Years student
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“Sometimes it’s really hard to appreciate how important an issue is to her. To me it seems so silly and unimportant, but I have to try and remember that in her life, at her age and from her perspective, it IS a really important thing.”~ Parent of Middle Years student
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