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New to this whole high school parenting thing? As educators, we spend 45-55 hours with our students a week. That means we have experience in best practices on how to teach and impact high schoolers. This is part 1 of 2 collections of advice we wanted to share on raising this generation of teenagers. These posts will also give you a look into some of the educational philosophies of Lutheran High School. Here are 4 things you can do for your child as they navigate the new world of high school.


1) Assure them of their identity

If you peel back the layers of the typical American high school student, a search for identity is central to understanding why they do what they do. Whether they are invested in their grades, looks, athletics, arts, or social status, high schoolers want to know that they are known and loved. As Christians, we know our identity isn't found in anything we do. It's not who we are; it is whose we are.

Remind them that Jesus Christ loves them daily. This can keep them grounded in a foundation that does not change despite the ever-changing high school landscape. Tell them their identity is in Christ before they walk out the door in the morning, and be assured they'll hear it from us during the day, too.

2) Empower your student to serve others

In today’s social media, selfie-infused landscape, we tend to focus on ourselves a disproportional amount. Instead of focusing on how students can bring attention to themselves, encourage them to look for ways they can help others. Our community has needs in every corner, from hungry to orphaned to those simply needing to feel loved. What better way to follow Jesus' example than to serve those in need?

Not sure where to start? Reach out to our Service and Missions Coordinator, Bill Garner, for ideas. Your student can join in one of the regular service projects LuHi students participate in.

Finding a rhythm of serving others also helps fight an attitude of entitlement. There are few things more rewarding in life than helping a fellow image-bearer. Being generous with our time and resources reminds us we are distribution centers. All good gifts come from God, who abundantly gives to us so we can abundantly give to others.

3) Help them manage the digital landscape

Today’s teens spend an average of 8 hours and 40 minutes in front of screens every day. Many of those hours are on social media platforms. Social media has upsides but also has the potential for some serious downsides. Too much time on social media can impact mental health and cause an uptick in loneliness, anxiety, and depression. Too much screen time can also impact sleep. As all parents of teenagers know, healthy sleep habits are crucial.

Devices can be helpful tools in the classroom and at home for homework. But moderation is key. We encourage students to make connections with teachers and peers. We want them to plug into extracurricular activities and have other outlets besides social media. Partner with us in encouraging your student to put down the phone and have more face-to-face interactions.

4) Provide appropriate levels of support and accountability

High schoolers need consistent support and accountability. But they don't need parents, coaches, or teachers in their lives to bail them out of every problem. Overcoming obstacles and adversity pays dividends in students' futures. If adolescents become completely dependent on others to fix their problems and praise them for every minor achievement, are we setting them up for success in and after high school?

One of the best things we can do for teenagers today is to help them learn to think critically and problem-solve. Let them take responsibility for their actions instead of fixing everything for them. That will prepare students to be of good character and integrity to face the real world.

We try holding students accountable in many small ways everyday: turning homework in on time, staying in dress code, and being on time to class to name a few. Partner with us in holding your student accountable in these ways, too.

There are tangible ways to help students with these intangible needs. The teachers and staff at LuHi want the same thing as you: to see your student thrive in their high school years and beyond. We are always happy to have conversations about how to best help your student explore their God-given talents and grow into the young adult God created them to be. Just reach out!

Originally published in 2016, updated for accuracy in 2023.

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