The Wisdom of Our Parents

Tug Of War TeensDo any of the following concerns sound familiar?

“Is my student motivated enough?”  “I don’t want to be a nag.  How much do I remind my high school student to get her/his homework done?”  “When do teenagers normally start taking greater responsibility for their homework and academic achievement?”  I don’t want my daughter/son to lose out on any opportunities for college or beyond.” “Are my concerns normal for parents of a high schooler?”  “When will my son/daughter start identifying her/his academic interests, during high school?”

There is no one set time for the academic development of teenagers.  Teens are naturally becoming more independent, and parents can begin shifting responsibilities to their teenager. The experimentation so teenagers can learn their strengths and areas for improvement about managing their time, asking for assistance from teachers and friends, pursuing new interests will continue throughout high school. This exploration can sometimes create contention.  Parents can forsee consequences of a teenager’s choices, and don’t want their child to suffer in the short or long term, while teenagers may not share the same concerns. So, the adage to “pick and choose one’s battles” can be more prudent advice than not.  The teenager learns valuable lessons about both what’s effective and not effective, and parents can relinquish the sometimes frustration of leading their children.  The difficulty for parents can be standing by in support and letting their student both make their own choice and be responsible for any outcomes.  Sometimes, the greatest teacher is experience, even when a parent knows that the consequences will turn out less than expected.

Unfortunately, there is no Magic 8 Ball for parenting or a handbook with definitive instructions to help teenagers continue maturing into responsible students. On the other hand, there is no schooling situation that cannot be remedied without effort and persistence.  This spectrum can help gain perspective when parents feel that “last-nerve-oh-no-you-did-not” sensation regarding their teenager’s choices.  Knowing too, that in the long run, teenagers learning to pick themselves up and take responsibility for their choices is a skill that has no price, can help parents weather any difficulties. In the short term, chocolate can help.  Sometimes, its only decades later do we recognize the wisdom of our parents.

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About Jill Yoshikawa, Ed M, Partner of Creative Marbles Consultancy

Jill Yoshikawa, EdM, Harvard ’99, a seasoned, 25 year educator and consultant, is meticulous in helping clients navigate all aspects of the educational experience, no matter the level of complexity. She combines educational theory with experience to advise families, schools and educators. A UCSD and Harvard graduate, as well as a former high school teacher, Jill works tirelessly to help her clients succeed.
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