Today’s teens struggle with addictions to electronic devices, anorexia, weight gain, pressure to succeed, health issues, divorce, loneliness, anxiety, and peer pressure. Depression is on the rise among teenage girls. Crying out for help rears its head through cutting and threats of committing suicide.
What can parents do?
Paul Humburg has answers that have successful results. Humburg is the Director of Student Services at Morningside Academy. With over 24 years in education, he has helped many students and their parents negotiate the difficult years between childhood and adulthood.
Humburg asks, “Does your son or daughter read for pleasure?” He states, “Approximately 80 percent of boys and 60 percent of girls no longer read for fun. They’re missing out on college preparation by not reading. Tell your kids to read books.”
“Teach your children organizational skills. Just being organized and turning in an assignment on time, can lead to confidence and higher grades.”
“Too much time is spent with electronics which stimulate the mind. Students who play sports or have an extracurricular activity in addition to homework, cannot stay up playing video games. They’ll be too tired in school.”
“Allow your teens to work at self-sufficiency. Don’t do everything for them. Otherwise, they will have great difficulty adjusting to college and the working world. Allow mistakes to be made while they’re still under your roof to help them.”
“Keep communication open: boys with dads, girls with their moms. Be as aggressive as you can be about issues of life within reason. What you as a parent say to your son or daughter matters to them.”
“Be aware that children going through a divorce in the family may feel hurt, alone, and scared. Talk to them. If they need extra help, counseling, for example, look into this. Getting help can alleviate anxiety.”
“Teenagers need a place to fit in. Often, those in a club, on a sports team, in the band, etc..have a leg up. They become well-rounded individuals. Some students genuinely volunteer or participate in mission trips. These teens will see that there is a larger purpose in life. They will succeed.”
“I think that parents need to consider costs for the college years. The local college usually can provide the classes that a big university does for the first two years. It’s ok and even better much of the time to stay at home and go to college.”
“Monitor your teen’s social media. I tell them, ‘Don’t put up anything that would embarrass your parents or your principal.’ Colleges aren’t just looking at transcripts, they check social media as well. Putting up the wrong content can leave you missing out on scholarships. Look for scholarship money. There’s a lot of it out there for kids with great grades.”
“Students today need mentors. Tell your kids to communicate with their teachers who can write letters of recommendation. Parents should also communicate with their teen’s school.”
“Most importantly, tell your children often that you love them, unconditionally. Don’t just tell them when they’re doing well, but also when they make mistakes. No one loves the children like the parent does.”
Paul Humburg works one on one with students. For each student he meets with, he develops an “Individual Empathy Plan,” recognizing that every teen is different, with varying gifts and talents. He looks for the good in kids. Humburg tells the students, “Honor your father and mother, so that you will live long.” Students at Morningside Academy come from a variety of backgrounds and faiths. Humburg adds, “When students feel well emotionally and spiritually, the academics follow.”
Paul Humburg has watched both his children and grandchildren move from grade to grade at Morningside Academy. They in turn have been influenced by him. Recently, his daughter began a teaching career.
Paul Humburg would like to leave this legacy:
“He shared his faith and really cared about the kids.”
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