Many say parenting is the hardest job in the world… Many say it’s the best job in the world… Both can be true. We do know that parent involvement with children’s learning has a huge impact on their success in school (see the PTA report: “Report: The Positive Relationship Between Family Involvement and Student Success“). Yet, involvement, especially for busy parents with ‘isolationist’ teens isn’t easy. It takes an incredible amount of patience, courage and common sense as well as the ability to balance the ‘Big Picture’ with individual actions and allowing room for kids to make mistakes.
There are parents out there with the attitude of, “Let the school deal with my kids – I’ll deal with them at home, only”. Schools can’t parent kids, though – ESPECIALLY when parents are ‘too busy’ to deal with their children. That’s when problems occur. Thankfully, the VAST MAJORITY of parents understand and support the assertion that parents must be involved. Still, the trick is moving from supporting the idea to employing strategies that enable parents TO be involved.
I haven’t done a research study on parenting trends in the US compared to international schools. Nevertheless, when I compare student-family relationships in international schools to what I knew in the ‘States I see some very different patterns. Far more single-parent’s raising kids in the US; far more absentee/proxy parents in international schools. It’s the absentee and/or proxy parenting that worries me most.
The best strategies in the world cannot replace spending quality time with children. Open, honest communication that sets clear expectations is the key to all healthy relationships. Again, how well can communication occur when one is not around? Obviously, there are other factors that influence teenage behavior and it’s up to each of us, as parents to decide how best to model the values we hold dear.
Below, I have included some links to some parent resource websites that I have found useful:
- Parenting.org (sponsored by Boys Town)
- life.FamilyEducation.com (sponsored by Family Education Network)