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Will Parochial School Help Daughter's Behavior?

Middle School Expert Advice from Connie Collins

Q: My 15-year-old daughter wants to continue to go to her public school. The school is very overcrowded and I am unimpressed with her grades, attitude, and overly abundant social life. Should I send her to Catholic school even though she is quite resistant?

A: I don't think public or Catholic school is the real issue here. There are plenty of kids at Catholic schools who have bad grades, attitudes, and an overabundant social life. The real issue seems to be one of control. Schools do not control a student's behavior. The student has the responsibility for all her behavior, attitude, and relationships with others. That said, parents have the responsibility for setting the expectations and boundaries for children.

I would encourage you to focus on what changes you want to see in your daughter's behavior. (Forget about attitude. All teens have one and it's best to ignore it.) What are the consequences for her low grades? What limits on her social life are imposed by you? All of us who are parents need help at some time or another in setting consequences and boundaries. I encourage you to enroll in a parenting group; check out websites or check out books from the library on working with difficult teens.

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Connie Collins, professional school counselor, worked for 35 years in public education as a teacher and counselor at the middle school and secondary levels. Collins worked daily with the parents of the students in her various schools, and has facilitated several parenting groups.


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