NORMAN — Q: Now that our daughter has entered high school, it has become almost impossible to get her go to school. We have recently heard that some districts are offering incentives that might make it more appealing for kids to attend school, and now she thinks we should do the same for her. Any suggestions? Thanks for any help you can offer.
— Jazz and Doug, Moore
Dear Jazz and Doug,
We’d all like for our kids to jump up and be excited to go to school every day, but living in the real world, we know this doesn’t happen. We also know as good as it would be for the police to come and force them to attend, it only happens in certain cases and isn’t pleasant.
What does happen is that after multiple absences, your name as the parent/guardian is turned over to the DA. Heavy fines can be assessed and even jail time is offered as an “incentive” for parents to get their kids to school.
We do not necessarily agree with some of the districts that give extravagant gifts if students will only come to school. What is this teaching them? It is their job at this stage of their lives to attend school.
The incentive we get, as adults, who work and fulfill our responsibilities is a paycheck. We have had students ask why they don’t get paid to go to school. We tell them to search online for average yearly incomes for those with no high school diploma or an associate’s, bachelor’s or master’s degree to see the difference in income. This can be eye-opening to a lot of young adults.
As you can tell, we believe her incentive should be a swift kick in the you-know-what. Not going to school isn’t an option. Remind her that you are the parent — she is the child — and should follow your rules.
Not incurring your parental wrath is a huge incentive. Once she’s on her own, she can make any decision affecting her life that she wants … but for now, you have to help with those decisions.
You are teaching her life-long practices because, believe it or not, the behaviors she learns now will carry over into her adult life. One day, she’ll thank you for your diligence.
Q: I am the parent of two high school kids. I am very concerned about the senseless deaths that are occurring because kids are mixing pain killers or other prescription meds with alcohol. What can I do to make sure this doesn’t happen with my kids?
A: This has become a huge problem with teens. They want a quick high as well as not feeling any pain.
To start, if you have any medications in your home that would be desirable to a teen, make sure you count pills and lock them up. We hope you have a good enough relationship with parents of your kids’ friends so you can ask them to do the same.
As we have suggested several times before, get to know your kids’ friends and their parents. Make sure if they attend any parties that there is adult supervision, and plenty of it.
Don’t be afraid to have a conversation with your kids about the dangers of putting any medications in their systems that aren’t prescribed specifically for them. Just make sure you’re doing the best you possibly can at communicating with your kids.
Let them be aware of your fears and give them the knowledge that will help them make right decisions when not in your presence.
Please send questions to email@example.com. Sally and Jeannie are certified school counselors with more than 50 years combined educational experience. Jeannie has two children, Sally three. The responses presented don’t necessarily reflect the views of any certain school district.