What type of parent involvement helps kids do better in school? The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development recently conducted an investigation into the type of parent involvement experienced by students scoring high on the PISA (Program for International Student Assessment) that is conducted worldwide to 15 year olds (and in which the US ranked far below other leading countries). What are their findings? Successful students shared parents who
- Read to young children daily
- Showed genuine interest in their learning
- Monitored homework
- Helped them visualize a hopeful future by talking about college
All of these suggest quality time spent with children and teens. This is much easier when they are young and they want you around. Teens and young adults also need parental involvement, even though they may push us away or appear ungrateful. I loved the insights of a family psychologist, Dr. Anthony Wolf (author of “Get Out of My Life: but First Could You Drive Me & Cheryl to the Mall: A Parent’s Guide to the New Teenager”), that teens need parents who can hang in there, patiently and firmly.
Consider giving the gift of time and listening this holiday season. Decorate the gift with all the rudimentary accoutrements: eye contact, checks for understanding, smiles and nods, frequent yes and contributing something more. Listen so carefully you can hear their dreams.
Work through the parent/teen Grow a Generation workbook “Writing a Purpose Statement” before the New Year, resolving a Purpose Driven Future. If you are parenting a young child, read aloud the Grow a Generation storybook “Isumataq: A Parable of Wisdom” and listen to your child explain how they feel beautiful and powerful, who they love, what makes them curious, scares them, what they miss, and where they find delight. Both are excellent tools to open up a conversation with your child.
May your holidays be filled with warmth and love.
May the sound of children’s laughter be louder
than the mourning of empty chairs at the table.
And May the gifts exchanged
bring peace to the world and goodness to all humankind.