Parent Talk

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Parents impact the academic success of their children. Prior research suggests a positive association between parental involvement and student academic outcomes, (Mazer & Thompson, 2016). The kind of parenting administered to a child can impact the child’s perception of their abilities for a lifetime. That is, greater perceived parental involvement tends to lead to greater academic successes for students and more positive perceptions of students’ success in school. Students with parents that are involved in their child’s educational process provide assistance as needed when their children are not performing academically as expected.  It will be through parental involvement that schools will change and improve the educational climate for learning in Georgia, (Tomlinson, 1991).

Sheila Green started educating her children before they were born. While in her womb, she taught them math skills and read to them nightly. Shelia rocked in the nursery’s rocking chair while playing music for her unborn child. When Conner was born the OB-GYN stated that Connor was the most intelligent baby he had every delivered. From kindergarten until the tenth grade Connor excelled academically. Connor was a soccer stand-out and his math and science skills were both above the top ninety-seventh percentile for the United States. With so much going for Connor it is interesting that Sheila still worries about her son’s future. It seems that he is destined to do well, but Sheila is an educator. Sheila taught high school math for twelve years before moving into administration. Her professional experience is the reason that she fears for Connor’s future, because she remembers Jimmy Smith. Jimmy, like Conner, was a straight student until his freshman year in high school. Jimmy went to a high school party, his first one. Jimmy tried drugs and within one-year Jimmy was a drug addict. His grades fell two all F grades. Jimmy’s parents paid a fortune to help Jimmy kick his drug habit. Despite their efforts, Jimmy never regained his previous level of academic achievement. Sheila switched schools before Jimmy graduated and does not know what happened to him. She only remembers that Jimmy’s and Connor’s stories are similar and that Jimmy could have been her Connor.

There are drugs that exist that a first-time user can become hooked. The Center for Substance Abuse Research states that, in the case of crack cocaine, the user can become addicted after first use. Of course, this will not be true for every person using crack and less likely for people using cocaine in its powder form, (Patterson, 2017). There is an estimated 22 million people using illegal drugs in America, (Cooper, 2011). Try to remember the days when drugs and promiscuous teenagers were all that parents had to worry about. The problems associated with teen sexual activity are well-known. Every day, 8,000 teenagers in the United States become infected by a sexually transmitted disease.’ This year, nearly 3 million teens will become infected. Overall, roughly one-quarter of the nation’s sexually active teens have been infected by a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Sexually active children are more likely to commit suicide from depression, (Rector, 2003). Now return to the present from thinking about having to just keep a joint out your child’s mouth. The list of teen issues facing our teenagers at this time is longer. The challenges include teen suicideteen violencecyberbullying (online bullying)Internet & online addictionteens and sexteens and substance abuseteen anorexia, and eating disordersviolent video gamesteens watching pornTV violenceviolence at home, & violent culture. Parents, teachers, and communities across the country are concerned with teen issues, which are caused by a number of social, cultural, technological, communal, economic, familial, and individual factors. While it may be hard to change the nature of the Internet, computers, cell phones and TV, there is always something that each one of us can do to reduce teen violence, the rate of teen suicide, teen cyber-bullying, bullying at school, and help develop a well-adjusted relationship to our technological and commercialized culture, and a creative and balanced use of the Internet, Online Gaming, etc. Following is information about the underlying forces behind these teen issues, as well as actions that parents, teachers and each one of us can take to address them, (Zuroffers, 2016).

Reading this list of teen challenges should make a parent of a teenager grimace. How should parents plan to help their children successfully navigate current challenges? Zuroffers a few tips. The tips are tips. Personally, I have only one suggestion. Whatever it takes, maintain the best relationships you can with your children. Stay involved in their lives. Be ready to jump in when needed and allow them room to experience normal things that people experience and make mistakes. Children learn from their mistakes. Help guide your children through issues that are too big for them to handle on their own. Which issues do you lead them through and which ones do you monitor?  I don’t know. I have taught my children to be thinkers and work out their problems. My children work their problems out among themselves. They know that if I step in and solve their problems, I will make the decision that I think is fair after hearing both sides. I purposely try to make fair decisions that neither child likes. I don’t want to be an option for my children’s issues. Love your children and make sure that they know that you love them. Try not to take it personally when your child seems to want to do everything but hang out with you. You are the parent, steal your child’s time now and then. Take them with you on a trip, or to the park, or just have ice cream with them in the kitchen. I know there is nothing worse than driving four hours to the beach in a silent car, but getting those one answer responses is progress.  There is a challenging world out there waiting for your children. They will appreciate knowing that you are there to face the challenges with them.

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References
Cooper, A. (2011, September 8). Studey: 22 Million Americans Use Illegal Drugs. Retrieved from CNN: http://thechart.blogs.cnn.com/2011/09/08/study-22-million-americans-use-illegal-drugs-3/

Patterson, E. (2017). Can You Get Addicted to Cocaine After the First Use? Retrieved from drugabuse.com: http://drugabuse.com/library/cocaine-first-time/

Rector, R. (2003). Sexually Active Teenagers Are More Likely To Be Depressed and To Attempt Suicide. A Report of the Heritage Center for Data Analysis. Retrieved from http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED476392.pdf

Zur, O. (2016). Major Issues Facing Teenagers: Teen Suicide, Teen Violence, Cyberbullying (Online Bullying), Internet & Online Addiction, Video Games, Teen’s Watching Porn, Teen’s Watching TV Violence, Teenagers Exposed to Violence at Home, and Violent Culture. Retrieved from Zur Institute: http://www.zurinstitute.com/teenviolence.html

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