Tips for Parents to Help Their Kids Survive Another School Year

As a high school student, my anxiety levels would go up around the resumption of the school term. There was always something to worry about: puberty, bullies, peer pressure, mathematics (I struggled with this one subject), being homesick (I attended a government boarding school out of town).These were some of the struggles I had to overcome, during the school year.



 I did not always come forward with these problems, but would often cry in the corner. I could not always hide these problems or find solutions from my friends either. My parents did their best to help me survive every school year and survive I must. As another school year progresses, I am sure there will be some kids faced with similar struggles. Parents have a lot of preparation to make, to ensure their kids hit the ground running at the start of term: shopping for school supplies, checking school information, organizing after-school activities, etc.

I was having a chat with a friend about the challenges of helping kids get through school while being a good parent. It is tough but worth it. While these preparations are important, as parents, our role in the success of our kids in the school year is huge. 

Here are some ways parents can help their kids survive another school year. 


  1.   IDENTIFY THE PAIN POINT

Before you can offer any help you need to know what you are helping with. You need to get to the root of the problem. Is your kid struggling with academics? Is he or she having difficulty seeing what is written on the board, screen or in books? How are they coping with friends? Are they being bullied? Is he or she lazy? You need to identify the pain point in their struggle before you can offer any meaningful solution. The solution may be as simple as getting them a pair of glasses, to a tutor, to spending more time on school work, etc.

When I was in high school I struggled with math, until my mum discovered I did better with a different math tutor. This was only after a candid discussion about my struggles with memorizing math formulas. My new tutor took the pain to ensure I understood the formulas before committing them to memory and it made all the difference.

        2.    BECOME THEIR CONFIDANT
Your kids may have their school counsellors, whose role is to advocate for school children in a formal learning environment. But we should provide an open channel where he/she can freely approach you about their particular struggle. Talk to them in a calm tone and in an informal environment. It could be at home, in the park, on a ride home, etc. Let your kid know they can talk to you about any problem at all. Also as a parent, teach them the strength and not the weakness in communicating challenges. As a teenager in high school, I did benefit a great deal from letters my dad wrote me and the visits my mum would make every month (and those were long drives). I was a fragile girl, attending high school in a different state and struggling with living conditions in a government owned boarding school, those letters and visits became reference points whenever I felt lost.

       3.   FIGHT TO OVERCOME
As a parent, your role should not only be as a provider but also a role model. It is important you lead by example and do what you say. Do your kids see you dealing with daily struggles? Such as: loss of a job, delivering on work commitments, exercising to keep fit, self-improvement, getting a promotion, etc. Do you let them know that struggles are a part of everyday life? Struggles should not define an individual, but the effort to overcome is the lesson. Teaching your kid values such as hard work, determination, integrity, fearlessness, will go a long way in helping them navigate poor grades, bullying, rejection, etc.

Parents can truly offer proactive support that will make the difference for their kids, in surviving and overcoming their struggles, during the school year.




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