Back to School: The Secret Tool Kids Need to Succeed

Its that time of year again. Stores have been cleaned out, clothes purchased and backpacks are full. Kids from Kindergarten through High School are anticipating the new school year and all of the adventures and challenges that can bring. Parents and teachers have read the latest methods on coping with bullies, Internet safety, and they are preparing for the onslaught of homework, budget cuts and changes in routine.

As a mom of two girls heading to High School, we face unique challenges in the coming weeks. I honestly wasn't sure how to approach the variety of issues we have been forewarned about. High School is certainly a diverse environment with many potential areas to trip up even the most responsible and caring teenager. My girls and I have had all the necessary talks and they are as informed and ready as they can be to move into a world drastically different then what they are used to.

One particular piece of advice from my mother keeps coming to mind and given what lays ahead for my girls, it is the best advice I have heard to date on how to help my girls deal with any difficulties that may arise.. Regardless of the quality of the teachers, the attitudes of the other kids, or how effective the curriculum may or may not be, their success is going to come from what their expectations are more than any other factor as they move forward now in life. Expectations are something that are unique to all of us we become teenagers and then adults....its not something that younger children have as much control over, as their world is what we make it for them for the most part.

Empowering our teens with the knowledge that they ultimately control how they feel about what happens in their lives is truly one of the most important lessons they can learn. It will help them thrive regardless of any circumstances they encounter from the beginning of High School all the way through their lives. So use the mornings, after school drives and dinner time to remind your teens to expect much from themselves at this point and not quite as much from the world at large.

This is a critical shift as it is reasonable to expect the world to take care of us when we are young. As kids mature they need to move into an entirely different perspective. I realize that High School presents a wonderful opportunity to help my teens learn that attitude is everything. Good attitude comes from having reasonable expectations. Going into new environments is never easy. Knowing the environment is filled with challenges is even more scary. Reasonable expectations that help teens form a healthy attitude will be enormously helpful to helping teens succeed...in High School and in life!

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