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Shannon on parenting in the below article published in Deseret News, National edition by Mandy Morgan
DESERET NEWS NATIONAL
6 ways to prepare your tween for the scary new world of junior high
Thursday July 16, 2015
Anxiety, depression and heightened stress levels are known to increase significantly when young teens make this transition. According to the American Psychological Association, researchers at the University of Michigan found that children’s grades drop dramatically, on average, during the first year of middle school and that children become “less interested in school and less self-assured about their abilities.”
Independence with support
Parents may want to be a constant presence, but part of the transition from child to teen involves the child learning to be independent and to handle things on their own.
Volunteering at school and going to parent-teacher conferences is one way to be involved in a young teen’s life without being overbearing or embarrassing for the child, said Shannon Sanford a radio host and author in New York. It’s a way for the child to still be doing much on their own while knowing there is support for them when they need it.
“There’s this thing: they really don’t want you to be their best friend, but they need you to be their best friend,” Sanford said. “Make the house child-friendly. It’s really worth it because you’ll know where they are. But don’t try to be one of them the more you’re around them in almost an invisible way, the better you’ll feel and the better they’ll feel.”
And don’t wait for school to start to let them know you will be there for them.
“Getting them ready in the summer, talk to them a lot about it, talk about their fears. They probably don’t even know if they’re frightened or not. Let them know you’ll be there, but you won’t be too much,” Sanford said.
For the parents
“The first thing I always say to (parents) is roots or wings, and wings is always the hard part,” said Sanford.
The transition from child to teenager is often harder on the parent, said Sanford. Letting go of a child, but still helping them along the path of life, can be one of the hardest balancing acts to figure out.
Often, what kids need from parents is a calm voice of reason when things seem to be out of control. When teachers are demanding, parents can be the understanding mentor putting things into perspective.
For the full article click here: http://national.deseretnews.com/article/5195/6-ways-to-prepare-your-tween-for-the-scary-new-world-of-junior-high.html
Hudson Valley Magazine
by S Gallagher
Four Frequently Asked Questions (and Answers) Every Parent Should Know
Should I choose a public or a private school? And what about homeschooling?
There are many factors to consider when deciding how to educate your child. Though homeschooling is quite popular in our region, most people are trying to decide between public and private school, a decision complicated by the diverse educational philosophies represented here in the Hudson Valley. We have everything from Catholic schools to traditional college prep to a military academy to several Waldorf schools that don’t allow computers — and even discourage their use at home.
Education expert Shannon Devereaux Sanford, author of the Parent’s Guide to Hudson Valley Schools, says the best place to start is with cost — pure and simple. Private school is expensive, and while scholarships and financial aid are often available, it is an expense many families just cannot afford. Next, examine your motivations. Is private school what is really best for your child, or something that you, the parent, want? If you find it’s the former, begin looking for a school whose philosophy is complementary to your lifestyle and beliefs.
Sanford warns that it’s not a good idea to settle for a school that doesn’t meet all your criteria. “It has to be a near-perfect fit. Don’t say, ‘Well, this one thing is really great and I can deal with all the other things that aren’t so great.’ You won’t be able to.” In general, there are many benefits to a private education. Largely unfettered by things like standardized testing, private school curriculums tend to be more diverse and challenging; it’s easier to find a place where your child can pursue his unique interests and talents. And you are able to hand-pick a community of like-minded parents and peers for your children.
Public school has its benefits as well, varying within each district, which will determine everything from class size to the accessibility of arts education and athletic extracurriculars. “If you have public schools with small class sizes, save your money [and skip private school],” Sanford urges, explaining that with small classes, kids will get more individualized attention which is key whether they struggle academically or excel. The other time public school should be a first choice is if your child has special needs — as public schools tend to be better funded and can offer more robust services.”