11 Provide academic support All students need encouragement and support, and most middle school students need a little extra help from time to time. Be available to help if your child gets stuck, or if he/she needs someone to look over an essay, listen to a speech, or help review for a test. However, don’t give more help than is wanted, and don’t do the work yourself. If something doesn’t get done, don’t come to the rescue. If you do, your child won’t feel the need to be responsible in the future. It’s very important for middle school students to be successful in their classes, and for them to feel competent and capable. If you see your child struggling in a class, contact the teacher and ask what you can do to help your child succeed. You want to help your child become more independent and self- sufficient; however, it’s important for your child to know that you are available if he/she ever needs your help. Encourage independent problem solving Parents need to monitor their child’s academic progress and be aware of what’s going on at school. It is important, however, for students to learn how to solve their own problems and take care of their own affairs. Being able to get their questions answered and their problems resolved helps students gain confidence and become more independent. It also gives them a sense of empowerment. In middle school, most problems can be resolved and most questions answered just by going to the right office or by talking to the right person. If your son or daughter has a ques- tion or problem, try to help your child figure out how to take care of it on his/her own. Eat dinner together as often as possible “Studies have shown that when families eat dinner together, children do better in school and they’re less likely to get into trouble. Silence all cell phones, turn the TV off, and talk about your day. It’s a great time for families to reconnect.” Bob Arnette, counselor