Friday, March 24, 2017

Parenting high schoolers

We had a perfect case study in how life is a series of yin and yang moments for one of my kids today.

Firstly I get a message that she's disappointed that she didn't do as well as she'd hoped / expected to on a science lab report - she passed comfortably and doesn't have to repeat the assignment, but didn't ace it by any means. So that made her a bit sad.

Then I get a message literally 7 minutes later - she got a Maths test back that she thought she'd gone alright-not-great in, to find she got 100%. So that made her ecstatically happy.

This was the catalyst for a chat about a few things:

- how marks at school are one, but not the only and maybe not even the most important, measure of how your learning is going - so it's important to not get too invested in them, to the point where it really affects you emotionally, especially with these smaller incremental pieces of assessment.

- how you can learn from the mistakes you make, and especially the teachers' comments, to help you do better next time.

- how no-one aces everything all the time, and it is actually OK to "just pass" sometimes - indeed, it's OK to fail if you can use it as an opportunity to work out what you don't know or can't do. Fail often, fail better, as the old adage goes. I often think we learn more in life (and at school) from struggling to do what doesn't come naturally than from the stuff that's as easy as breathing to us.

High school parenting is a whole 'nuther ball of wax from primary school parenting, but 15 months in and now with two kids at HS, I feel like I might be starting to grok how it's done. (Most of last year I felt bewildered and at sea). It's that balance between engagement and encouragement, and stepping back to let them fight their own battles and manage their own learning, that's been tricky ... but onwards and upwards, to bare-passes and perfect scores and social navigation and enthusiasms and camps and activities and all the rest of it.

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