Some tips on how to make the daily grind easier for your kid.
Schooldays are not always the best days of your life. For some people, they are the worst. Little freedom, maddening teachers, that uniform, playground bullying, boring subjects and endless days in hot classrooms. So what can you do to make life at school less of a drag?
United we stand. Whatever your interests or views, there are bound to be people who share them. Find them and make friends. Many friendships start off with people doing something together, such as helping out at in the library, or hammering together the set for a play, or playing sport for the school. Invite them over to your house or go and see a movie together. You need people to chat to at break times and to support you when the school bully puts in an appearance.
Homework, homework. Just do it. Blah, blah, blah. You've heard this a million times. Point is, doing it is just so much less hassle than not doing it. And come exam time, things will just be so much easier for you if you've kept up during the term. No last minute dramas, in other words. And, copying from a friend once in six weeks during a real crisis, won't give you a criminal record, but do it every day and you are really only cheating yourself.
Bully basics. Avoid bullies as far as you can. Make sure you don't get noticed. Bullies like people smaller than themselves who stand out for some reason. Despite efforts on the part of teachers to curb bullying, they can't be everywhere all the time. So, try and blend in vaguely with the crowd. If you are the only one in the school with spiky hair or purple socks, you're going to be noticed. And not just by the cute girl in your class.
Don't just stand there! Be enthusiastic about something. Somewhere in the school there must be an activity that appeals to you – sport, chess, the drama group, the choir, the band. Schools provide many opportunities. It might be years before you get this kind of choice again. So get involved. It's also a good way to make friends.
Junk food jitters. If you're eating a healthy diet, you'll not only be more attractive, but also find it easier to concentrate. Hamburgers and chips every now and then won't kill you, but do it every day and you'll get fat. Five portions of fresh fruit and vegetables a day, some protein, six glasses of water, limited fat and carbohydrates like wholewheat bread should be part of your daily diet.
A fight to the death. Try and avoid a standoff situation with a teacher, the principal or another student. Call in the help of the guidance teacher if necessary, especially if you feel you have been unfairly treated. But doing a grand stand about some issue could be quite distressing for you and fairly disruptive for the other students. If you really have a leg to stand on, involve your parents. Don't go it alone.
No lying, cheating and stealing. Be honest. This is just so much easier, as you don't have to remember tomorrow what you told to whom. Cheating in exams can land you in serious trouble. Serious enough that universities may refuse to accept you if you apply, especially if this happened in an external exam. Never take anything that isn't yours, as it could brand you for life.
No apple for the teacher. Being the teacher's pet singles you out from the other students. While it may have short-term advantages, it definitely has long-term disadvantages. Any teacher worth their salt should know that openly favouring one student is not only unprofessional, it also creates enormous problems for the student involved. Talk to the teacher concerned, or if this is too difficult, speak to the guidance counsellor.
History hell, maths misery. Choose your subjects carefully. There are few things more frustrating than doing subjects you don't enjoy or have no interest in. Of course, you have to keep the future in mind, but if you have no interest in Advanced Mathematics now, you will probably not have it in the future either. It isn't difficult to do well in subjects you really like. But don't go only for the soft options – it might be difficult to get a job one day. Find what you are passionate about and find a way to make a living from it one day.
Presence required. If you accept the fact that you have to be at school for so many hours in the day, it makes it so much easier to live with being there. Don't fight it. Seeing as you have to be there, you may as well make the best of it and try and concentrate on what's happening in class, rather than daydreaming about the past weekend. OK, for most of the time, anyway.