You have helped your child through the early school years; pre-school and all of its drastic change in family life and then the elementary school years where the social life and homework wars were fought and hopefully won for the most part!
Now your son or daughter has graduated up to Junior High or High School and with it comes a whole new set of rules and requirements. This is the time to get serious about getting assignments done on time. A few missed or late assignments will lead to a whole year of trying to catch up and losing ground as every day goes by. It can become extremely discouraging for a teenager to fall behind and the temptation to just give up is always very close to the surface.
The pressures of the social life and expectations will appear to be the most important issue at this age, so it will be difficult to convince your child that schoolwork is a priority. Here are some ideas that may help your family keep the peace and make this season a great one.
• Consistent homework time. At this stage your child should be a self starter when it comes to getting homework completed but you may need to help set up a rule that will guide them.
• Reward good grades. Unfortunately the simple satisfaction of a great report card may not always be enough to keep a teen working hard all year. You may need to set up a reward system for high grades or a reduction of privileges for poor grades.
• Be willing to help. It may seem that once your kids are out of elementary school you can sit back and let them handle the rest of the journey. But your jr. high and high school kids will still need supplies and assistance with difficult assignments from time to time. Be ready to sacrifice your evenings once in a while so they know you are behind them one hundred percent.
• Be involved. The backpack of a 14-year-old boy or girl can be a disaster. There are wrinkled and torn papers that should have been handed in, important notes from the teachers to you, gym clothes that stink and snacks that melted.
As the parent you may need to intervene and buy some organization tools and folders that will help your child find things. This will not solve the problem once and for all though. Kids this age need assistance and do not see the value of keeping things clean and neat yet.
The junior high and high school years can be tough times for most kids due to the social pressures and desire to fit in and be accepted. You can help your son or daughter by constantly affirming who they are and loving them as they are. Good luck with these busy and fun years!