What you as parents can do
- Model discussing things that concern or worry you and your child and encourage them to share their worries (without being too nosey if they are not comfortable sharing).
- Model how to respect the ideas of others, even when you do not agree with them, perhaps discussing views that are put over through newspaper or news bulletin stories.
- Ask the school for important dates for examinations and coursework deadlines and then help or support your child to work out and follow work plans, to ensure they can meet deadlines for school work and revision for examinations.
- Try and ensure that your child has some fun time amongst the work schedule, especially when they are particularly stressed about doing well; encourage them to ask for help from their teachers, or a learning support assistant, if they are unsure or worried.
- Encourage your child to solve problems without you doing it all for them. This may need to start small; it may also need you to rehearse with them how to make a telephone call or another problem involving communicating which they need to learn but are very uncomfortable about doing.
- Encourage your child to have the courage of their convictions, where appropriate, and help them to think about ways of putting right things they feel strongly are wrong. This could mean doing things to support a charity or, nearer to home, making suggestions to a teacher or the School Senate or a friendly adult about how to make school meet a need they have identified.
- Encourage your child to talk to someone else about serious worries or relationship difficulties if, for some reason, they find it hard to talk with you.
- During the teenage years it can be difficult sometimes for young people to talk to parents, especially if it is about feelings they find it hard to share with you. Talking to someone else, maybe a school counsellor, school nurse, pastoral leader, peer mentor or some trusted adult in your circle of friends and relatives, might help them find a way of dealing positively with strong feelings they feel unable to share with you. Make it clear that you are not hurt by this (even if you are.)