One of the most challenging things that happens on a student’s journey from middle school to high school is based in psychology: as humans, we begin to seek approval from people beyond our parents such as friends in school. Status becomes complicated, and we start to feel pulled in different directions. As students, the ways you studied and approached school up until now, whether now means 9th grade, 10th, or 11th, may not get the same results as before. Or, just maybe, there were patterns in mindset, studying, grades, or test scores that go back many years, but many people tend to focus on what happens in high school as what is most important. Students, whether you want to hear it or not, your parents are often right in their observations in terms of your study habits, attitude, or mindset. Remember, your parents have a tough job: they are solely responsible for your well-being and in helping you become the best version of yourself — this is the most rewarding and most challenging job on the planet! Yours is tough, too, because while you must honor your parents, you have to become increasingly independent, make your own choices, and sometimes those choices may contradict your parent’s goals or wishes.
Here are 8 suggestions to reset your relationship as you move into and through high school:
- Great expectations: Set clear expectations for grades that are based on precedent, quarter by quarter, so that your “team” knows what is expected.
- Meet weekly: Besides any daily dialogue, meet once per week with the sole purpose of reviewing the week’s assignments and schedule upcoming assignments.
- Know your roles: Students, your job is to honor your parents and your well being by working hard to be your best, to focus on your studies, to do well. Parents, your job beyond caretaker is to identify necessary resources to help your child succeed, and never falter on proactively solving problems you see.
- Advocate: Parents, when necessary, advocate for your child at school, not to get a grade that is not warranted, but for one that is, or for when you are not experiencing a responsible counselor or teacher to help your child succeed.
- No surprises: Students, share your successes and your struggles, your A’s and your D’s as they come in so that you can, together and without judgment, figure out what to do.
- Support: Parents, using judgmental words like “lazy,” comparing sibling against sibling, or telling autobiographical stories about your youth tend to be counterproductive. Focus on supporting positive study habits, clear goals, and help manage distractions while incentivizing positive changes. This is the most effective way to get results.
- Be open: Students, the more you close off your parents, the more every tiny detail of your life will be analyzed, scrutinized, whether understood or not: Why? As parents, we have been caring for our children with more energy, love, time, and compassion than you can fathom at this point in your life, and you are preparing to soon go off to college and be independent. Share more, and you will find your parents are less concerned and will not let their imaginations lead them astray!
- Family time: Set aside time to just live, and enjoy each other without focusing on school, lessons, or lectures. Recharge, and reset.