How to be more involved in your teenager’s education
Between parental involvement to parental engagement
The active and regular participation of parents in the education of their teenagers is essential for the teenagers’ integral development and good academic performance. Parents should accompany their teenagers in their day-to-day life and know how their teen feels about their teachers, classmates, achievements, subjects, etc., which also involves being interested in the teenagers’ experiences, challenges and dreams.
This companionship involves parents assuming a more active role in school activities: talking with teachers about their teenager, communicating aspirations about their teen’s school achievements, and setting education-related rules at home (parental involvement). It also encourages parents to have a meaningful and active involvement in their teenagers’ learning process at home, at school and in the community (parental engagement).
Parents constantly navigate between parental involvement and parental engagement. When parents are involved in their teenager’s education or engaged in their teenager’s learning, they can have a positive impact on their teenager’s social, emotional, physical and academic development – which in turn improves parental satisfaction. It is always a good time to start playing a more active role in your teenager’s education, please take these ideas into account if you do so:
- Being involved is not about controlling, doing things for them or going to the other extreme of letting them do everything for themselves. Being engaged refers to the active and permanent participation in your adolescent’s education. You are there to listen, understand and help your teenager understand the situations he/she experiences and to learn from them; including being there for your teenager’s achievements and successes, but also his/her failures.
- You do not necessarily know how to become involved, or you may even be afraid to assume a more active role in your teenager’s life. It is here when you might need the school’s advice to help you support your teenager in an assertive way. It is a collaborative process that can only benefit your teenager.
- Work on effective communication with the school. Two-way exchanges with the teachers are very useful and beneficial for your teenager. Do not hesitate to get in contact with the school.
- Ask simple and open questions that allow a natural flowing conversation, rather than a report. Go to school when invited, get to know your teenager’s teachers and find out what classes your teenager attends.
- Bond with your teenagers while carrying out sports, recreational, social, cultural or ecological activities.
- When difficulties arise, never lose sight of the positive attitudes and strengths of your teenager. These make a useful starting point to moving forward and working issues out.
- Desforges, C. & Abouchaar, A. (2003) The impact of parental involvement, parental support and family education on pupil achievement and adjustment: A literature review. London: Department for Education and Skills. Viewed 22nd of January, https://www.nationalnumeracy.org.uk/sites/default/files/the_impact_of_parental_involvement.pdf
- Epstein, J. (2001). School, family, and community partnerships. Boulder: Westview Press
- Fan, X., & Chen, M. (2001). Parental involvement and students’ academic achievement: A meta-analysis. Educational Psychology Review, 13, 1-22
- Henderson, A. T., Mapp, K. L. (2002). A new wave of evidence: The impact of school, family and community connections on student achievement (Research Synthesis). Austin, TX: National Center for Family & Community Connections with Schools.
- Ministry of Education & Young People, (2006). Scottish Schools (Parental Involvement) Act 2006: Guidance. Edinburgh: Scottish Executive. Viewed 1st of December, https://www.gov.scot/publications/guidance-scottish-schools-parental-involvement-act-2006/
- Ministry of Education & Young People, (2019). Ministry of Education & Young People, (2019). Parental Involvement and Engagement Census. Viewed 1st of December https://www.gov.scot/publications/parental-involvement-and-engagement-census/