This week we explore another Asset Category, Boundaries. Within this category there exists six key assets. They are Family Boundaries, School Boundaries, Neighborhood Boundaries, Adult Role Models, Positive Peer Influence and High Expectations. Here is the link to this week's article about Boundaries.
It makes a lot of sense that youth are likely to grow up healthy if they feel safe at home, in school and in their neighborhood. This week's article offers some common sense examples regarding ways in which parents can participate in helping monitor and ensuring healthy and safe development through their childhood. From stranger danger to distracted driving parents have these learning opportunities throughout their child's development. Click here to review the entire article.
The third in a series of four assets in the 'Empowerment' category is the focus of today's Article titled "Service to Others". This is an area, that has slowly, but consistently decreased within our students over the past sixteen years. There are so many creative ways in which families can use the times when you automatically help extended family, neighbors and friends and highlight your service to them for your children. It may seem as if it's not necessary to explain your family's kindness to others, but taking each opportunity to reiterate with your children that this is "what we do for each other" will help instill their understanding of this asset in their lives.
As your children get older, families can gradually begin to include them in decision making. Vacation trips, college visits (yes, even as middle school students), design ideas (especially their own room) and chore assignments. Another way to use youth as resources is to ask your child to teach you something new. It could be a new app, other technology or song lyrics.
Click here for this week's full article.
This week's article has a checklist on the first page (click here to view entire article). Take a moment with your child and ask them to rate your family's community. Do the following places value youth?
This week we begin to look at the second Asset Category, Empowerment. Within this category there exists four key assets. They are Community Values Youth, Youth as Resources, Service to Others and Safety. This related article offers ideas to evaluate the level of empowerment your pre-teen/teen possesses. On page two you'll see specific age appropriate suggestions of ways in which you could add to your child's sense of empowerment. Click here to view this week's article.
This week's focus on parental involvement in schooling is a look at the sixth and final asset in the 'Support' Category. Here, at Lurgio Middle School, the focus has always been on preparing and educating the whole child. Developmentally, it is during this period of time that skills are identified and students begin to focus on strategies necessary to build additional strengths for the fast approaching high school years. Although their increased individuality and independence is evident, there are still many ways parents may choose to participate in their child's schooling. While we foster and encourage self advocacy skill development with our middle school students, we also celebrate and honor ways in which parents remain an active part in our school, while giving needed space to their children. Volunteering to chaperone a trip such as Cardigan Mountain is an opportunity to share like experiences with your child as you help out a camp group separate from your child's homeroom. Participating in the PTG is a rich and valued experience, as is the Stand By Me Committee that organizes and facilitates the full day family workshop event for all seventh graders. As your child becomes more independent, please consider how you will stay involved with the language and culture of their school climate. Attending sporting events, theater/ musical performances as well as other school community offerings, albeit sitting separately from your teens, is a wonderful way to keep in touch with and share their experiences. Click here for this week's Asset Newsletter article titled "Staying Involved in School".
The Positive Asset we will explore this week is Caring School Climate. When students walk into the Lurgio Middle School, they are able to see the office secretaries, Mrs. Cronin and Mrs. Doyle; the nurse, Mrs. Chessie; and the guidance staff, Mr. Fredette, Ms. Mullen, Mrs. Fitzgerald, Mrs. Dapolito, Ms LaRue and Mrs. Stone. More often than not, the hallway is filled with music from the band and chorus room, located just feet from the main entrance. During the day they see many adults in the school in addition to their teachers. Our custodians, media center staff, technology teachers, cafeteria workers and additional staff members seek to create an atmosphere of kindness and acceptance in our school community. Ask your child to compare the atmosphere they experience at school with the weather. We all hope their responses will be something like "warm and comfortable". One way you could add to the atmosphere and become more involved in our school climate is through the Parent, Teacher Group. By following this link, you can learn more about the PTG and all it offers to add to your child's experience in school. Please click here is the link to this week's article.
Now that your child is in middle school, both they and you will surely be looking for ways they can feel more productive as they enter into young adulthood. Progressing into their teenage years happens rapidly and is out of your grasp before you know it. During middle school years, children still accept their parents' involvement in their activities. You are, no doubt, the driver, the cook, and often friend of the family to your child's peer group. As they get older they become much less dependent on your involvement in their affairs. Planning for this ultimate change in direction is key to a solid, healthy and well adjusted young adult.
While they are still able to be guided and nudged along by you, please consider creating allies for both you and your children... right in your own neighborhood. Finding adults whom you trust, and who appreciate your children, are resources that will be invaluable to your kids and to your own peace of mind.
Click here for this week's article titled "Neighborhood Friends".
I've talked before about a point in time when adolescents realize that they will not be living with their parents for the rest of their lives. This revelation is scary and sometimes even upsetting for many. In middle schools all over the nation, every year feels like Groundhog Day. We meet a new group of twelve year olds and see developmentally appropriate discomfort as they stumble and fumble and ultimately weave their way into significant peer relationships. Their choices of friends can position them for healthy and rewarding experiences throughout these teen years or place them on a slippery slope where getting and keeping their footing is more difficult than it needs to be.
I believe there exits a way to raise the odds of success and reward for your children. It has to do with "Other Adult Relationships". While your child weaves their way through these teenage years, set him/her up with opportunities to be guided and supported by adults outside of your immediate family. Structured activities with adult leaders allow access to peers, activities and adults that will shape each child's direction and choices as life unfolds. Think about your experiences as a teen, and the adults in your life that shaped your choices. Share any healthy experiences you remember with your child and take time to confirm their trust in adults outside the family.
Click here to read this week's article titled "Other Adult Relationships".
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