Parent Education Materials

Parents and Teens

These modules will help parents explore methods and activities to help their children become career equipped, socially and emotionally engaged, lifelong learners. 

Overview: Teaching Your Teen the Skills That Matter

Why do some high school graduates do well in college or the workplace while others do not? As families, how can we help our teens succeed? Education and business leaders are saying that intrapersonal (internal), interpersonal (social), and cognitive (academic) skills are all equally important for success in school and in life. To experience success, our teens need to develop all three types of these skills or competencies. 

Video Title Description Resources
Clip 1: (4.41) Empowering Youth to Become Socially and Emotionally Engaged, Career Equipped, Lifelong Learners We want our children to be successful. Listen as Dr. Amy Gaumer Erickson, Associate Research Professor at the University of Kansas, discusses how we can help our children become career equipped, socially and emotionally engaged, lifelong learners.

College and Career Competency Wheel

10 Ways to Prepare Your Teen for College and Work: A Guide for Families

10 Ways to Build Intrapersonal Competencies With Your Teen

10 Ways to Build Interpersonal Competencies With Your Teen

Clip 2: (2:07) The College and Career Competency (CCC) Framework The 26 competencies on the wheel are skills people use daily to reach their goals, complete tasks, and interact with each other. Which competencies have been most important for you? It's likely that your use of these skills has led to success at work and in your personal relationships.
Clip 3: (2:37) Foundational Competencies As a parent, you may be wondering how to support social-emotional learning (SEL) at home. These six competencies provide a good place to start. 

To develop college and career competencies, teens need to practice these skills at home. The following are example strategies can be practiced at home to develop college and career competencies in your teen:

  1. Attach a copy of the competency wheel to your fridge and as you see your teen demonstrate an intra or interpersonal competency, give positive feedback by saying something like, "all the concepts on this wheel are skills that you will use in college or in a career - you just demonstrated this competency!" Give specific examples about how your teen's behavior illustrated the competency.
  2. Ask your teen to predict his or her grade on several exams. Then discuss with your teen the actual grade versus the predicted grade. Discuss why the prediction was successful or not successful. If your teen predicts a bad grade (such as "I'll be lucky if I get a C on..."), ask why he or she thinks that. For an upcoming project or test, ask your teen what success would look like. This helps build self-awareness and self-efficacy (the belief in your ability to achieve goals and meet expectations). 
  3. When your teen needs your help with issues like a broken phone, car repair, or navigating a purchase, let him or her take the lead and attempt to solve issues with as little support from you as possible. Encourage your teen to research issues online, ask for help, use active listening skills, and express questions and concerns throughout the process. Provide feedback to your teen on observed strengths and let him or her make mistakes as he or she attempts to solve the issue. This builds problem solving and assertiveness.
Teaching Your Teen to Self-Regulate

We want our children to become independent, lifelong learners who can set goals for themselves and complete important tasks. When children struggle with meeting deadlines, reaching goals, and taking ownership of their learning, they lack self-regulation. Self-regulation is a proactive, self-directed process for attaining goals, learning skills, managing emotional reactions, and accomplishing tasks. We can teach teens specific skills to support their ability to self-regulate.

Video Title  Description Resources
Clip 1: (5:47)  Overview  This video introduces the concept of self-regulation, clarifies the definition, and provides examples of self-regulation at home and at school.  
Clip 2: (11:11) Impacts of Self-Regulation Instruction Teens can apply self-regulation both in and out of school. As parents, we support self-regulation by talking to our teens about their goals and how they are going to progress toward them, helping them work through homework challenges, and talking with them about how to manage their emotional reactions. Listen as Dr. Amy Gaumer Erickson, Associate Research Professor at the University of Kansas, discusses some of the impacts of self-regulation, breaks down the definition, and shares the components necessary to successfully self-regulate.
Clip 3: (2:19) Izzy Makes a Plan Our goal is to have our children direct their own success. Let's explore the self-regulation process. In this video, you will hear from Izzy, a high school senior. She talks about how she created a plan to complete her online Physics homework.
Clip 4: (1:30) Izzy Monitors and Adjusts Her Plan Izzy's plan included time management, organization of her assignments, and consideration of distractions that might derail her plan. Let's take another look as Izzy explains the difference between monitoring progress and monitoring actions.
Clip 5: (4:29) Monitoring, Adjusting, and Reflecting for Academic Success

Izzy uses a checklist to monitor her assignment completion. She also reflected on her choices for breaks and adjusted her plan to include exercise as a break instead of snacking as she noticed it helped her be more productive. 

Izzy showed us one way to self-regulate homework completion. Dr. Gaumer Erickson shares another example of a checklist for self-regulating homework assignments.

Clip 6: (14.19) What Can I Do If I Encounter Obstacles? As adults, we often encounter situations where things don't go as planned. When teens encounter setbacks to their plan, they find it difficult to persist. Dr. Gaumer Erickson describes three strategies to help your child overcome obstacles; mental contrasting, analyzing options, and implementation intentions.  Self-Regulations Strategies
Next Steps  

We want to support our children by coaching them rather than directing them. What questions would you ask your children to encourage them to proactively make detailed plans for success? What actions could they use to monitor their plans and determine if their plans are successful? Are your children able to anticipate what things might interrupt their plans? How could you make time to reflect with your teen? 

To get started, choose something to help your teen practice self-regulation. Here are a few ideas

  • Time on electronics
  • Responding calmly when feeling frustrated
  • Independent reading
  • Getting up for school on time
  • Getting homework done
  • Washing clothes for sport or job
  • Saving money to buy something

Remember that self-regulation is self-directed, so while you might ask questions and give advice, your child should create and work on the plan. Make time to ask about how the plan is going and whether adjustments have been needed. Help your teen reflect on what is going well and what isn't throughout the process of self-regulation.