Information for Parents
Parenting TipsAs the school counselor, I support the staff, students, and parents in a variety of ways to help ensure that our students get the most out of their learning environment. One of the key elements to a successful school counseling program is parent involvement. Parents are the people who know their child the best and can tell when something is going wrong in their child’s life. Parents may notice a change in their child’s attitude and behavior at home, a change in their grades, or may simply sense that something isn’t right.
If you have questions/concerns about the academic, social, or emotional well-being of your child, please contact me at school. We will work together to find a solution to your child’s particular situation. I can reached at (845)568-6480 if you would like to speak with me regarding your child.
Tips for Parents:
The first tip is thinking ahead... One of our best tools as parents is being prepared. As your son or daughter gets to the middle school years, get ready for occasional conflicts. Think through what is truly important to you. Is the youngster's hairstyle as important as homework? Isn't curfew more of a concern than crabbiness? As these give-and-take situations start, know ahead of time what areas you are willing to negotiate and what areas are absolutes.
Be willing to listen — but don't poke or pry. Kids this age value independence and often seem secretive. Keeping to themselves is part of the separateness they are trying to create. Let them know you'd love to help them, but don't push them into a defensive position.
If your child is in the midst of a longtime friendship that is falling apart, the best thing you can do is stand by and be a good listener. It is devastating for us to see our children hurting, but taking sides or intervening is not appropriate, nor will it help. Preadolescents do survive these hurts, especially if they know we are there to listen to their pain.
Friends are people who accept us as we are. They listen, they don't needlessly criticize, they back us up when we're right and pick us up when we're down. Be a friend to your middle-schooler; some days kids feel you're the only one they have.
All friendships have ups and downs. Children need to learn that being "best friends" isn't always smooth sailing. People have differences of opinion and even get angry, but they still care for each other. This is what's going on when we get involved in those "I-hate-her-she-is-so-stuck-up-and-how-could-she-do-this-to-me" conversations. As parents we must help our kids see that one problem doesn't ruin a relationship, but stubbornness might. Middle-schoolers have a lot of spats and falling outs, but often the friends are back together again in a short time.
If the issue is minor, keep things light. The shoes on the floor, the wet towel on the bed, the carton left open; these are maddening, perhaps, but not earth-shattering. Call attention to them in a humorous way, so your middle-schooler knows you want action but you aren't being punitive. "Either the cat's smarter than I thought or you left the milk carton open on the counter. One of you please put it back before it spoils."
Don't use power unless it's urgent. Parents have the ultimate power, and kids know it. We don't have to "prove" it to them at every turn. Save your strength for those really important issues you've decided are non-negotiable. Eventually kids are going to possess power of their own, and we want them to be able to use it wisely.
Help your child by setting up smaller goals: clean off your bed; get five assignments done tonight; assemble the materials for the project. Preadolescents have trouble structuring tasks so that they are more approachable. In an even and off-hand way, we can help them in this.
Teach Them How to Apply What They Learn In School to the Real World. How many times have you heard your child complain that nothing they do in school matters? Or been asked, “I’ll never use this, why do I have to do it?” Start looking for ways for your children to apply what they do at school in the real world. For example, take your child with you to the grocery store and have them calculate cost per unit of items to find the best deal. You’re reinforcing long division in a way that really matters.
Go to school meetings and events. Attending concerts, plays, assemblies, meetings, and other activities is a good way to become familiar with your child’s school community.
Encourage him to get involved in school activities. Be there when he needs a ride or has a game.
Set up reasonable and reachable academic goals for the first marking period. Understand this is a time of transition and it may take your child a few weeks to get up to speed in their new middle school environment.
10 Tips For A Successful Parent-Teacher Conference
Parent-teacher conferences are an excellent opportunity to find out how your child is adjusting, problem-solve and brainstorm ideas for success, and gain a better understanding of expectations for the year. Prior to the conference, pay attention to work that is brought home and look for patterns. Are there subjects your child is having more difficulty with? Are they the same subjects/concepts as last year or are there new struggles? Listen to what your child says about the work, his teacher and his classmates. Here are some general tips on preparing for a successful conference:
- Ask your child if there are questions he/she has or areas they’re concerned about.
- Come prepared. Write yourself notes so you don’t forget to ask about your concerns. Jot down ideas/interventions that have worked in the past that you may need to mention during the conference.
- Questions to consider:
- What is my child going to learn this year?
- What seems to be my child’s strongest/weakest area?
- Is my child working to his/her ability? If not, how can I help at home?
- What is your homework policy?
- How is my child getting along with classmates?
- How do you accommodate differences in learning?
Tips for Parents of Future High School Freshmen
- Remain involved. Continue to attend Orientation, Open House, teacher conferences and other programs offered during the year. Contact the teacher and/or Guidance Counselor when you have questions or concerns.
- Know your child’s friends. The shift from middle to high school often means expanding their network of friends. If you don’t know where your child is going, or who they’re meeting, ask.
- Discuss emergency and safety issues. Discuss rules for emergency release procedures as well as for parties and dating.
- Set goals. Sit down with them and set realistic goals for high school. Goals should be both academic and personal ones.
- Help develop good study habits and organizational skills. Try to provide them with a quiet place to study. Encourage them to use a planner. Help them develop a schedule (daily timetable) that includes sports practices, club meetings, music lessons, etc.
- Encourage your child to get involved. Show your support by attending these activities (games, presentations, etc).
- Know the dates for interim progress reports and report cards. Call the school if you think there may be a problem.
- Find a balance. It’s easy for students to get caught up in the social aspect of school. Please monitor time spent on the phone, on the computer, watching T.V., out with friends, etc.
- School Support. Always remember that we are here to be partners with you in supporting your child’s success in school. If you have any questions, please call the counselor.
- Communication/support. Remain interested and enthusiastic about their school. Your positive attitude will help your child’s transition be a successful one. Ask questions, listen. Remind them that you’re available when, and if, things go wrong. Call the Guidance Office for support, if needed. Stay active with PTA.