The Times West Virginian

Life

August 23, 2012

Advice from teachers on how to make happier students

(Continued)

8. Middle school and high school are not the time to take a more hands-off approach

Just because your child is getting older doesn't mean it's time to put her on autopilot.

"This is the point in their lives when they're trying to sort out who they are," Thomas, the middle school teacher, said. "Peer pressure comes in, and their connectedness to school wanes. We tend to lose a lot of children in middle school, when drugs, bullying, peer pressure and skipping become more rampant. . . . It's not the time to take your hands off of what they're doing."

The same goes for high school.

"High school students have this air about them that they don't need their parents anymore, but they really do," said Christie Ground, a ninth-grade English teacher in Maryland.

9. But don't do everything for your child

Sometimes it's faster to do things yourself than wait for your child to complete a task. But by doing everything for him, you're not preparing him to take care of himself.

Melanie Buckley, head of the English department at a high school in Virginia, said that if your child is having trouble with something, such as organizing his backpack, stand next to him and have him do it while you talk him through the process. Timothy Yorke, an advanced placement English teacher in Virginia, said this goes for time management as well.

"Parents have to empower their sons or daughters to think for themselves and be more responsible for themselves," Yorke said. "They need to figure out: How do I juggle all of the activities and classes but not have to rely on Mom and Dad to step in."

10. Ask about your child's day.

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