Teenagers need the help, guidance, and strength of their parents even more than toddlers do at times. The transition from middle schooler to adulthood is like running a medieval gauntlet.
Letting them make their own mistakes in their own educational journey should not mean we “Let Them Utterly Fail”. While we cannot complete their homework assignments for them, we need to stay on top of our teens. Some students flourish during this time and become “Captain of their Own Destinies”- even conquering the world. But, many students put on a realistic smoke screen that implies that they have the world by the tail, but are drowning in the amount of responsibility and work required in their life. By the time parents become aware of the fact that their students are struggling, they are facing a mountain of makeup work. Not fun on any continent.
We stay on top of our kids. Continue to monitor their eating and sleeping habits. Maintain (or regain) parental control over things like tv and screen time so that we help them learn to manage these time-vacuum activities. While each family establishes what is acceptable to them, parents should be in control. Many teens need us to be firm over these things so they can safely flourish. Not doing acceptably in school should dictate less “fun time” with technology, social media, and texting.
Be willing to go the distance WITH our kids. They are struggling in math? Either tutor them or find them one. Sit at the table while they finish their assignments. Model what it looks like to be confused, but to press through confusion to comprehension. There are adults who are willing to sit and mentor/coach not only our kids, but us parents as well. If you do not understand an assignment, concept, or assignment reach out and find help. Even You tube can be a great resource!
Some kids will be easy to guide, others will be challenging, but all of our kids need us. They need to know that they are not stranded on a deserted island, abandoned to figure out how to create a flowchart demonstrating how to name a chemical formula from its scientific name, write an expository essay, or solve a quadratic equation alone. There is a whole team of adults, teachers, and mentors ready to help them, but first they need us. Do not be intimidated by the amount or subject of material they need to assimilate. Let them see you confused. Let them see you research solutions. Let them see you ask for help. Let them protest as you take them to a tutor.
Just do not give up and let go.
God gave us the responsibility to secure their parachutes, no matter how loudly they protest!