Help Your Preteen Succeed In School

Diane Sasser, Claesgens, Mark A.  |  7/14/2007 12:30:20 AM

2007 Back-to-School News (Distributed 07/13/07)

Before your preteen goes back to school this year, remember that many changes take place during the preteen and teen years. It will be important that you be particularly perceptive at this time even though this is the time your child wants to be more independent, according to LSU AgCenter family and child development expert Dr. Diane Sasser.

"Isn’t it ironic that some of the most important years at school, years that can influence life choices, are also the years of so many changes?" Sasser asks. Preteens experience physical and emotional changes while changing schools from elementary into junior high and ultimately into high school.

The transition from elementary to junior high can be difficult for some youth. Those who move from very small rural elementary and junior high schools into significantly larger high schools often show the most trouble adjusting to their new environments.

Change is difficult at any age, and we all have to adapt. Not all change is bad, and not everyone suffers from school change. Sasser offers ways to help your child adapt and succeed in school.

– Make sure they eat right, get enough sleep and have good medical care. A happy home life also helps.

– Watch for potential problems during times of transition. Be willing to be available for discussion and guidance.

– Recognize and ask about changes. You might ask, "What big changes are there in your new school? How do you feel about these changes?"

– Help your preteens feel good about school. Their attitudes about school are important. How you feel about school affects how your preteens will feel. You need to set an example. Preteens often learn to dislike things about school that you did not like. If you did not finish high school, enroll in a GED class. If you finished high school, take another kind of class to show that you think learning is important.

– It’s OK if your preteens do better in some classes than in others. If they did not do as well as they wanted to, try to figure out what happened. Help them do better. Support them when they try to do their best. Help them find special help if they need it.

– Ask your preteens to tell you about school. Talk with them about what they like about school.

– Let your preteens make some choices about school subjects and activities.

– Go to school events with your preteens.

– If your preteens have school problems, talk with their teachers.

– Talk with your preteens about ways to improve grades.

– Talk about report cards in a positive way.

– Praise your preteens for doing good work.

– Set up a plan to help them study.

– Find a quiet place for them to do their homework.

For information on related family and consumer topics, click on the Family and Home link at the LSU AgCenter Web site at For local information and educational programs, contact an extension agent in your parish LSU AgCenter office.


On the Internet: LSU AgCenter:
Contact: Diane D. Sasser (225) 578-4448, or
Editor: Mark Claesgens (225) 578-2939, or

Rate This Article:

Have a question or comment about the information on this page?

Innovate . Educate . Improve Lives

The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture