Teach your teen study strategies for remembering information long-term
Knowing ways to store information in long-term memory and recall it later will make your teen's studying more effective. Suggest that he review material shortly after reading it, again within 48 hours and again within seven days. He can also look for ways to relate the information to his life or the world around him. What kinds of jobs require the math he is learning, for example? Encourage your teen to try creating a song or rap about the material, too.
Responsibility grows when teens feel empowered
You want your teen to take on more responsibility, in school and at home. She's more likely to if she knows she has some power to affect her own life. Wherever you can, let your teen make her own decisions. Set a time frame, for example, for getting chores done, and let her decide when to do them within that time. Ask her opinion when making decisions for the family, or put her in charge of planning the next family celebration.
Realism and teamwork help teens manage learning disabilities
Learning disabilities can be frustrating for students and their parents. Students with LD can learn, but it may take them longer than it takes other students. The Learning Disabilities Association of America suggests that parents help their teens set realistic goals and priorities. Above all, it's important for teens with LD to ask teachers for help as soon as issues arise. Many teens need help in school, and asking for it is a sign of maturity and strength.
Encourage your teen to ask you anything
When students are emotionally healthy, they can perform their best in school. To help your teen maintain emotional balance, make him feel he can ask you questions without being judged. For example, if he asks, "What would you do if a friend stole something?" avoid saying, "If your friends steal you can't spend time with them." Instead try, "Tell me what you think, and then I'll explain my view."
Help your teen overcome reading reluctance
Too many students never learn to see reading as something that they can enjoy. To boost your teen's interest in reading, offer him short stories, poems or other short works. If he doesn't like one, he can quickly move on to another. Remind him not to stop if he hits a word he doesn't know. Just have him jot it down to look up later and keep reading.
Create connection with family rituals
How does your family celebrate when one of you accomplishes something? How do you support one another in challenging times? Shared rituals can be the glue that brings families closer. Create some new rituals with your teen that let you spend time together. You might have a special breakfast together once a month. Or start an outdoor ritual that reminds her that there's a great big world all around.
Promote Responsible self-reliance
Teens may long to be independent, but they still depend on their parents for most things. To help your teen develop self-reliance, connect independence with responsibility. Let him have a say in deciding your house rules and consequences. If he gets an allowance, agree on items he'll be responsible for buying. Also help him take charge of his schedule and consult him before changing it.
Help your teen take high-stakes tests in stride
High-stakes tests are a regular feature of school life. Developing a positive attitude about testing will help your teen do her best. Remind her that everyone faces tests, in school and in life. Discuss times you've been tested in your life. Then, help your teen practice following instructions. On testing day, make sure she starts the day with a healthy breakfast and wears comfortable clothes.
Talk with your teen about tough choices
Sometimes, it's easy for teens to do the right thing. At other times, it's more difficult. If the teacher leaves the room during a test, for example, would your teen be tempted to text an answer to a friend? Talk with him about those hard moments. Remind him that even minor choices can have big consequences, and that often, choosing to do the right thing even when it seems hard will make his future easier.
Student athletes need fans, not fanatics
Playing sports can teach your teen how to work as part of a team, build muscles and perhaps even lead to a college scholarship. To support your student's athletic efforts, be a fan, not a fanatic. Keep in mind that most kids who play sports won't end up as professionals. Help your teen enjoy sports. Focus on what your athlete does right, and say "I'm proud of you," regardless of the score.
Give your teen your interest and time this month
December is full of extra activities and connecting with your teen can be a challenge. Show that you want to share your teen's interests, and then make the time to do it. You might prepare your student's favorite food together or watch a sporting event on TV. You could stream the movie your teen wants to see and discuss it afterward. Or follow directions as you decorate a room your teen's way for the holidays.
A strong family connection helps keep teens safe
Families play a critical role in guiding their teens through the adolescent years. Teens who feel loved, listened to and understood are less likely to engage in risky behaviors, including substance abuse and sexual activity. You can also help by setting high, realistic academic expectations, and checking in with your teen several times during the day.
Show your teen how 'homework' helps you
One important lesson to teach your teen is that doing homework pays off, even in adulthood. We all need to prepare for work or activities. Set an example: While your teen does homework, do some yourself. Check notes for a meeting, write down the names of people you have to call, or pay bills. Show your teen that good homework habits are valuable forever.
Help your teen create a résumé that works
Whether your teen is applying for a part-time job or a college scholarship, a résumé can help. It should include her name and address, her school information and any awards or honors she's earned. Even if your teen hasn't had any paying jobs yet, she can include descriptions of experience such as pet sitting, volunteering or leading a school club. She should also include special skills, such as being bilingual.
Help your teen stock up on essentials for success
Do you know what your teen needs to succeed in school and life? One expert suggests that it comes down to self-respect, goals, communication skills, social skills, stress management, exercise and family support. Family support may be the most important. Your love and acceptance gives your teen a foundation for developing all the other elements of success.
Expose your teen to positive peer pressure
Peer influence isn't always a negative force. You can help your teen experience positive peer pressure, too. Encourage activities and interests that will let him meet others who are likely to be positive role models. To start, help him find school-based extracurricular activities that match his interests. Community service clubs and youth groups are other good options.
No one is perfect. But everyone can learn
You want your teen to do his best in school. But that's different than demanding that he BE the best. Aiming for excellence is healthy and motivating. Insisting on perfection is unrealistic and stressful. Learning a new skill with your teen is a great way for each of you to put mistakes into perspective. They offer valuable opportunities to learn about a topic…or yourself!
Support your teen by showing you care
Nothing supports teens like knowing that their parents love them. And nothing gets that message across like showing them. Try to do a few special things for your teen each week. Tuck a treat in her backpack where she'll find it at school. Give her a copy of her favorite magazine. Put your love in writing on a greeting card. And schedule some time to spend together one-on-one.
Your teen is not too old for a bedtime
The last thing your teen probably wants right now is a regular bedtime. But getting enough sleep is critical to doing his best in school. Loss of sleep for two or more nights in a row can affect your teen's mood, his alertness, his attention span and his ability to perform on tests. Help your teen stick to a regular, healthy sleep schedule that lets him get eight to 10 hours of sleep every 24 hours.
Compliment specific actions you want your teen to repeat
You know that praise from you can motivate your teen. But vague compliments, such as, "You're great!" may do little to inspire her. Instead, praise your teen's actions. If she's done a fabulous job on a presentation, don't say "How wonderful!" Instead, say, "You backed your points up with great examples. I can really understand your argument!" Knowing her actions have merit encourages your teen to repeat them.