Your child is headed to high school. Now, you are dealing with hormones, sluggishness, and more-than-likely compromised attitudes. What can you do to get your teen to appreciate the importance of high school?
Tips For Becoming An Active Learner
1. Volunteerism – Yes, kids MUST volunteer these days to graduate high school. This is NOT volunteering. Get your teen involved (not for school hours or any other gain other than the cause interests them) in volunteering.
They can tutor younger kids. They can work for the local Y or other non-profit as a camp counselor. Animal rescue. Church. Foodbank. Find a way to get them to volunteering gigs (this is a good time to teach teens how to use your local public transportation). You might find your child discovers a love of helping others or you might find your child discovers a fear of ending up in a life-like those they’re volunteering to help. Either way, this is a major step towards getting your teen to focus on their future. Don’t waste it!
2. Put them in charge. Yes, it is that simple. If you have a teen that is defiant and unwilling to take an active role in their high school career, wash your hands of it. Simply bow out and let them know they’re on their own. For many teens, this is enough to make them pay attention and get in gear. For others, they will need to you to point out the jobs your friends, family, and neighbors have and the level of education they have achieved.
For children with special needs, it can be helpful to take extra time and point out the lawyer you know with dyslexia, the pharmacist who has only one eye or the pastor who STILL struggles with a stutter yet has a powerful effect on his congregation. Leave plenty of room for them to mess up and/or change their minds. With your support, your teen will get where they need to be.
3. Consider a “gap year.” If your child doesn’t have a rather concrete life goal in mind, look into a gap year before insisting they decide on college or a job. A gap year can be an apprenticeship, a year to work on scholastic weaknesses or a year devoted to travel, volunteerism or just growing up a bit. More often then not, it’s young men that benefit most from a gap year – and, they benefit in many ways. Take some time to look into it.
It’s a fine line between allowing your child time to grow up and pushing them to move on. You know your child best. You also know yourself best. Consider both when trying to figure out the logical next step.
As a parent or young adult, what personal experiences can you share regarding the high school years? Please share in the comment section below!