Having a young person going through secondary school is certainly a challenging but rewarding experience for parents and carers. Often we are asked "How can I help my child?" Parents and carers cannot be expected to be able to help with every subject a student studies, but there are many things which can be done to make secondary school years successful for young people.
The most important things I recommend for parents are:
- Love your child and listen to them – open, regular meaningful communication breaks down barriers and helps you understand this developing young person
- Support your child but help them to become resilient by suggesting strategies to solve problems, rather than solve them for the child
- Make sure they eat and sleep well
- Monitor their internet and smartphone usage (take the phone off them at night even)
- Keep them actively involved in healthy extra curricular activities like sport
- Check that they are doing homework and keeping up to date with assessment. Make sure they have a good place to study
- Don't be afraid to say "no" when it is clearly in the child's best interests
- Support the school – we are all here to help your child succeed
- For Junior students, get them to read to you often, and even read to them
The Department of Education has some excellent support resources for parents and carers.
I encourage parents to keep open lines of communication with our school. Often the truth gets clouded by emotion and the 'teenage brain', so it is very important to keep things in perspective and discuss concerns with the school. If there is a problem, we will do our very best to solve it.