What High School Students Wish Their Parents Knew
by Ava Hampton
The relationship between a high school student and a parent may be unbalanced due to misunderstandings and a lack of communication. Between the classroom and home, students are overworked and stressed, facing challenges of failing grades, social pressures and other school-related issues. As a parent, it may be difficult to understand the perspective of a high school student and the personal issues that high schoolers face.
Teenagers are sleep deprived, causing a lack of performance in school where they practice being young adults. To urge a student to get a good night’s rest is imperative, because without it, negative consequences can occur, such as poor attendance, bad behavior and additional stress.
Grades are bound to sink low, even into the range of failure, for a sleep-deprived student. One poor grade, or even a few, does not define a teenager. Parents want to motivate their teen to do better, but when that motivation turns into discipline, the teen may manifest poor thoughts of themselves and their actions. Teenagers want help from a parent or guardian, not aggression. It’s important for parents to help teens learn from the experience.
The stress teenagers deal with daily is tremendous, from essays to term papers, and the added layer of pressure from social media; it isn’t particularly easy. Parents may forget how difficult the teen years can be. Thinking back to what an individual experienced at age 15, 16, 17, and remembering their life during those ages might help parents to be more sympathetic toward their children. It is key as a parent of a high schooler to understand what stress looks like in their child and recognize it. Assure a child that whatever conflict they are currently dealing with will turn out okay. Words of love, care and support are monumental to teenagers at a time when they are self-discovering.
During this fragile time in a high schooler’s life, it is valuable to understand that there are other important aspects to the teen in addition to their studies. With self-discovery, teenagers are searching for new interests and passions as they try to understand themselves. Parents can be advocates for their teens, helping them develop the skills necessary to get along with others, handle disappointment, and speak up for themselves.
Although teenagers want independence and freedom, they still crave approval and care from their parental figures. If parents become less engaged when their child enters high school, the relationship can be easily severed and damaged, rather than successful and strong. Ideally, when high school begins, a parent should continue to support the child academically and in other school activities. Most parents want the best for their child, to support them in becoming successful in the world. Subconsciously, what most students really want is acceptance and understanding from their parents through their graduation day.
Ava Hampton is a student intern from Conestoga Valley High School with Natural Awakenings, Lancaster-Berks magazine.