Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Parents as Models

Whether you have sent your five year old off to 'big school' for the first time recently - or your pre-teen off to high school - now is NOT the time to sit back and expect that schools can now take over the reins of responsibility for your children.

It's pretty easy to stay in touch with what's going on at the primary school level, and we all do what we can in terms of offering our time as either a fund-raiser, a committee stalwart or a classroom helper. Unfortunately it all goes a bit pear-shaped in high school. I am not about to re-hash earlier posts about the ins and outs of developing a good relationship with your new high school, but I am going to remind you of the importance of maintaining a good relationship with your child!

In my last post I spoke about the importance of listening, particularly when dealing with teens. It seems that it's not just the words we use (or how we use them!) when communicating with adolescents that's critical, but it is also very much the way we conduct ourselves.

Despite the fact that our young people can pick up their L plates at 16 and can legally drink and vote at 18, the most recent brain research indicates that they are not really 'adults' until their mid-twenties. As parents, this puts us in a very responsible, and somewhat powerful, position. Whether we like it or not, our sons and daughters are still in a state of developmental 'flux' well after they have finished their final school exams. Just because they head off to uni or a new job doesn't mean they don't need us; of course we are not supposed to be running their lives, but what we do, what we say and how we behave can still impact the potential future adult choices and behaviours of our young people.

Professor Ian Hickie from the University of Sydney's Brain and Mind Research Institute (http://sydney.edu.au/research/opportunities/supervisors/759) believes that once our children finish high school "It is not the time to simply abandon your kids to their friends and think that everything will be fine." Recent brain research suggests that this is far from the truth.

New techniques for tracking brain growth show radical changes extends beyond teens and into the 20's - suggesting responsible parenting should too! Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water.......

photo credit: Saad Faruque via photopin cc

About Author:

Angie Wilcock is a highly regarded expert and speaker on transitions in education. She works with teachers, parents and students across Australia.

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