How parents can promote school success with teens

Like success in any job, success in school involves a number of different factors.

School success is important because it effects both daily happiness, future opportunities and choice. Like success in any job, success in school involves a number of different factors. Most people link school success with good grades, which is true that teens who earn good grades usually have more choices and opportunities. Teens with good grades often have access to the best teachers, teaching methods and equipment. But although competition and pressure for teens to get good grades in difficult classes is increasing, academic achievement is only part of a good education and school success.

Many parents are not sure how they can help their teens succeed in school. School is, ultimately, a teen’s job, but parents can help their teen perform well at his or her job. According to Michigan State University Extension’s Building Strong Adolescents Program, parents can help teens do their job well in the following ways.


  • Set realistic expectations. Parents can expect more if the teen is well above the 50 percentile on achievement tests.
  • Give praise for genuine effort and good grades.
  • Focus on learning more, rather than grades. Expect wise use of talents.


  • Provide time, space and tools for study.
  • Help early teens get organized and form good study habits.
  • Don’t interfere if teens are doing okay.
  • Work together on an agreement if teens are not doing well.

Home Life:

  • Involve the family in educational activities.
  • Model learning at home.
  • Have learning tools at home.

School Life:

  • Maintain a relationship with the school. Be actively involved.
  • Talk to teens about their school experiences.
  • Know as much as you can about the school.
  • Meet teachers and counselors.
  • Read correspondence from school.

Development as a person:

  • Support involvement in extracurricular activities.
  • Help teens set their goals and explore their own interests.

School plays an important role in a teen’s life. While specific academic experiences are preparing teens for future education and job opportunities, school experiences as a whole are contributing significantly to their personal and social identity. Teens must be prepared with knowledge and skills for the educational and career opportunities of an increasingly complex world. Parents can help their teens develop internal motivation to learn, handle and enjoy new challenges to their thinking, do their homework and develop other positive assets that lead to success in school and beyond. For more information on helping teens develop positive developmental assets go to the Search Institute.

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