How to Help Your Child Catch Up, Keep Up And Get Ahead In School

As you well know, the teenage years can be turbulent ones, filled with self doubt and–in many cases–serious angst at the outside world. Sometimes teens can use some extra help in building self-esteem and confidence. Your child has a better chance of succeeding in college if he or she masters learning and studying skills now. At this stage, it isn't always easy to help, but there are many things you can try.

Since procrastination is among a teen's favorite excuses, time management is a biggie in all this. They can trip themselves up so easily. But, when your child takes enough time to write that important paper or prepare for that big test, guaranteed they find that things go more smoothly and easily.

A common mistake among parents is comparing a child to siblings or friends who may have done or may be doing better (I learned this lesson the hard way). And, whether they want to admit to admit it or not, they can use help in learning how to deal with peer pressure, drugs and alcohol. Even at this stage, much as they may protest, having limits set on their socializing time can make them feel more loved and secure.

Equally important is rewarding good grades and performance on exams–or, more importantly, their efforts. If they know their parents care, kids have a good reason to complete assignments and turn them in on time. Letting them know that you value education and homework is crucial.

On the other side of the coin, when a child is struggling, they can look at the learning experience more as a threat than a challenge. Signs include daydreaming, acting out, even tuning out. That's where we, as parents have to tune in ourselves. Don't hesitate to consult with your child's teachers, coaches or counselor for help. Sometimes there's a simple fix that comes out of a conversation. The point is that there are times when we all need help and support.

Activity "overload" is a factor as well, and can affect even the best of students. While exercise and regular physical activity is important, it's important to keep a watch on those after school activities–and keep note of whether or not they are detracting from school and homework time.

There are no magic formulas to guarantee success. But certain key practices will make life easier for everyone in the family when it comes to study time and organization. Remember, the most important part of parenting a middle or high schooler is being there. They'll be off on their own before you know it!

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