The teenage years are an exciting time when children are becoming more independent and starting to make their own decisions.  

It is a time when they are developing the courage to leave what is familiar, certain and safe, to take risks, to increase social engagement with their peers and to explore and question, not merely accepting the status quo. However, they still need you to be available when they want to talk. Make time to connect with them 

School challenges

This can also can be a challenging time when issues can arise at school. School problems are common and it is important to recognise and respond to what your teen may be experiencing. 

Issues may include
  • Bullying 
  • Stress 
  • Self-esteem issues 
  • Peer and parental pressure 
  • Conflict with teachers 
  • Dealing with emotions  

Changes in your teen’s behaviour

If there are problems at school, you may notice your teen’s behaviour change. They may begin to show some of the following behaviours or even start refusing to attend school: 

  • Lack of engagement 
  • Truancy 
  • Low school achievement 
  • Becoming withdrawn  
  • Behavioural problems 
How to respond
  • Talk to your teen regularly about school.  
  • Stay calm and be supportive.  
  • Notice how your teen talks about school, if they refuse to talk or appear upset there may be a problem. 
  • If there is a problem address it quickly to stop it from getting worse. 
  • Consider speaking to student services or other school support staff including counsellors, chaplains and Aboriginal Islander Education Officers (AIEOs) as they are there to help if your teenager needs extra support. 

Building a relationship with the school

Having a good connection with your teen’s school is important and one of the best ways to support your teenager’s education.   

As secondary schools are larger than most primary schools, it can be difficult as there are different teachers for different subjects.

However, it is possible for you to build connections with the school in a number of ways, including: 

  • attending parent-teacher interviews; 
  • attending school events such as concerts and sports day;
  • attending parent association meetings; 
  • keeping up to date with school activities and events;  
  • reading school newsletters; and 
  • visiting the school website.  

Want to know more?

The Raising Children Network – Teens school, education and work  

Dr Dan Siegel – The essence of adolescence