More on youth development and the 40 Developmental Assets needed by 12 to 18 year olds, as described by the Search Institute.
1) Achievement Motivation: where teens are motivated to do well in school.
You can never “overpraise” a child’s abilities. The more able a child feels, the more likely they are to continue pursuing ambitious goals.
Use spontaneous rewards with no strings attached. If you expect children to work hard and learn new skills, they probably will. Instead of bribing by saying “I’ll take you to the park if you finish your assignment,” say something like, “You finished your assignment? Great! Let’s go to the park to celebrate.”
Set goals together that will motivate your child. Choose goals that are easy, simple, and achievable. Examples include, “I will raise my hand to participate at least one more time a day” or “I will ask my teacher or dad for help when I don’t understand something.”
Monitor your teenager’s stress levels. Some find high school academically competitive and can psych themselves out. Others think high school is a waste of time and try to just do the minimum. Talk about how high school is a key part of life and how to make the most of it.
2) School Engagement: where teens are actively engaged in learning.
Talk with your children about school and learning. Ask them every day what they did in school, what they learned, what they liked about school, what they didn’t like about it. Stay in touch with their school experience.
Some kids complain of boredom in the classroom. If this is the case, talk with your child and his teacher about enriching assignments to add more challenge. Ask for opportunities that add rigor and depth to your child’s education, and look for mentors and tutors who can help him delve more deeply into subjects that he loves.
When you talk about school, stay positive. Let your children know that you think learning and school are fun and important.