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Tips to help parents support high school students

Participating in an extra-curricular activity is an important part of high school for students.
Written by CMN News Service

Parents naturally want to help guide their children as they navigate their way through life.

No time is this more apparent than in high school, when teenagers are making decisions about post-secondary schools, programs and future careers. With technology rapidly changing the workforce, this can be particularly daunting for parents. These simple tips will help you support your teenager during this time.

Guide, don’t prescribe. Rather than tell your children what you want them to be, encourage them to explore their interests and what they are naturally passionate about. Help them identify their innate strengths and abilities like being naturally analytical or having strong leadership skills.

Encourage participation in extra-curriculars. Although some think extra-curricular activities detract from study time and grades, it’s actually quite the opposite. Not only do students develop social and time management skills while learning a sense of responsibility, most also see a marked improvement in their grades. It’s also an opportunity to try out different things, follow passions and develop strengths like leadership and collaboration.

Encourage a strong educational foundation. Many future jobs haven’t even been imagined yet, so having a strong educational foundation can be a basis for endless future opportunities. A Chartered Professional Accountant designation, for example, provides strategic and analytical skills applicable to every industry.

“My parents were very supportive and explained that a business background could provide a strong foundation to pursue a career in any industry,” explains Roslyn McLarty, recipient of the CPA Ontario Emerging Leader Award and co-founder of The Gist, a digital platform revolutionizing sports content for women. “They also helped me to see that a CPA designation was a good fit based on my natural abilities. The robust set of skills I learned helped me launch a start-up in a field I’m passionate about – sports.”

Reduce pressure, don’t add to it. The reality is that deciding what to study in post-secondary school is not a life-long commitment. We pivot, evolve and grow throughout our lives and this decision is merely the start of a path. As a parent, be encouraging and supportive, without adding unnecessary pressure or pushing in a certain direction.

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