What Can Parents Do With Their Teens to Influence Success in School?

By K. Nola Mokeyane
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Parental involvement is a key contributor to student achievement outcomes, according to a study published in the 2008 issue of "Research in Social Stratification and Mobility." Students have higher grades and behavioral outcomes when parents work alongside school officials to address their children's educational needs, says research compiled by the state of Michigan's Department of Education. Students also benefit from parents who encourage their children to value education by completing homework assignments and attending school regularly.

Be Supportive

There are numerous ways that parents can be supportive of their child's education to increase successful outcomes. As a parent, you can assist with complex assignments or engage your teen in discussions that are relevant to the subject matter she's learning. It's also important for parents to create an environment that is conducive to quiet and productive study. If your teen is experiencing personal issues that are negatively impacting her studies, offer her a listening, supportive and non-judgmental ear to help her sort through her challenges and show her that you care.

Attend School Functions

In a 2008 article published by the "Journal of Human Resources," researchers at the University of New Hampshire found that students have higher achievement outcomes when their parents offer other forms of support, such as attending their school functions. Forever Families, an information resource created by Brigham Young University and designed to provide essential tools for strengthening families, states that attending school functions demonstrates that parents place importance on education, which is a protective factor against risky behaviors in teens. Your teen will also feel more secure in knowing that you will be there to support her varied interests.

Attend Teacher Conferences

Parents must work collectively with teachers in order to meet their children's educational needs. As research published in "Research and Social Stratification and Mobility" suggests, teachers and schools have only a minimal impact on a student's achievement outcomes, while parents' contributions are the primary and predominant influence. Meeting with your child's teacher encourages the development of a parent-teacher relationship, and allows you to learn about your child's strengths and weaknesses in the classroom. With this information, you are better able to help her meet her academic needs.

Visit Counselors for Additional Support

Parents with children who have special educational or behavioral needs are encouraged to meet with their child's school counselor for additional support. Meeting with your child's counselor can provide your family with any necessary resources to improve your child's academic performance, such as tutoring services or an individualized education program, which helps address specific educational needs. School counselors also help students and families locate enrichment programs, gifted services and other resources to help students who wish to excel academically.

About the Author

K. Nola Mokeyane has written professionally since 2006, and has contributed to various online publications, including "Global Post" and Modern Mom. Nola enjoys writing about health, wellness and spirituality. She is a member of the Atlanta Writer's Club.