Teens and Internet Gossip

TeenCyberbullyingSocial media sites such as Ask.fm have been in the news lately and the headlines are not ones that parents would one to hear about their teens.  Gossip, whether online or off, can be cruel and harmful to others, especially when a person is already struggling with self-esteem issues.

“Sure enough, I had a parent come to my door and say, ‘Your daughter has been saying some rather nasty things about my daughter on this website.’”

– Patti, Mother

High school students have always spread gossip in the halls, on the walls and on the phone.  Now, it’s on the Internet, too.  On various message boards specific to communities around the country, kids write about whom they hate, whom they think is pregnant or has an STD and record other often hurtful rumors that may or may not be true.

Sixteen-year-old Jessica remembers once when some kids at her school wrote cruel things about her on the Web.

“They were just making fun of me,” she says.  “You know, she’s really ugly, she’s this, she’s that, ba-ba-ba.”

Jessica’s 11-year-old sister, Emma, admits she’s used the Web to write nasty things about another girl, though she regrets it now.

“After a while, you’re like, how could I have been so mean?  Like, why did I do that?” she says.

The other girl’s father eventually became so frustrated with what Emma had said that he came to her door and demanded her mother make her stop.

Experts say gossip on the Internet can be more harmful than the old-fashioned kind.  It’s often anonymous because kids use fake screen names.  It has the power of the written word, so it lasts longer and is taken more seriously.  And, unlikely ugly words on the bathroom wall, there’s no way to scratch it out.

“Online gossip is to hearsay gossip probably what nukes are to dynamite,” says Dr. Ramah Commanday, a school psychologist.  “It can get EXTREMELY raunchy.”

If your kids are victims of online gossip, Dr. Commanday suggests putting the gossip into perspective.

“Point out to them how what’s being said on the screen differs from what everyone knows about you as a person,” Dr. Commanday says.

You can also try what worked for Emma:  Keep your kids off the offensive website!

“When she was using it all the time, her name was on there all the time.  People were writing things about her,” explains Patti Thrift, Emma’s mother.  “Since she has no longer had access to that, she’s no longer a topic of conversation.”

Experts say that any time your child is on the Internet, you should know what he or she is doing there.  Online gossip is just another reason why.

Tips for Parents

Most of us remember passing notes during class or swapping stories over lunch with our friends in middle and high school.  But with more teens accessing the Internet these days, it appears that gossip has gone high-tech.  Teens are using message boards, instant messaging and even email to air out their frustrations – often in hurtful language – about their teachers and peers.

According to an Internet Report from the UCLA Center for Communication Policy, 97% of kids aged 12 to 18 access the Internet on a regular basis.  What they’re doing on the Internet, however, may be surprising.  The U.S. Department of Justice reports that approximately one in every 17 kids is threatened or harassed while using the Internet.  In fact, most don’t tell their parents or other adults, and if they do, the adults often don’t know how to stop the online teasing.

Gossiping, whether it’s in the halls or on a message board, more often than not leads to hurt feelings.  According to the Nemours Foundation, if teens spend enough time gossiping and passing on stories they don’t know are true, eventually no one will believe anything they say, even when it is the truth.  Teens who gossip shouldn’t expect to be trusted ever again.  Once friends learn that a peer can’t resist spreading secrets around, they won’t tell him or her anything personal.  And if a teen gossips about personal or important issues, he or she could even end up in trouble at school and at home.  Teachers don’t appreciate students who make it tough for other students to learn, and parents won’t be happy to hear that their child is causing trouble in school.

If you’ve heard your teen taking teasing and gossiping to a hurtful level, it’s time to remedy the situation.  The experts at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota offer the following advice for curbing your teen’s gossiping and teasing:

  • Cultivate your teen’s compassion.  Talk to him or her about feelings – how emotional blows can hurt as much as physical ones.  “You wouldn’t throw a rock at that boy, would you?  So you shouldn’t call him a ‘zit-face’ either.”
  • Give your teen a simple test he or she can use to judge if his or her teasing is playful or hurtful:  “How would I feel if someone said this about me?”
  • Talk to your teen about the when and where of playful teasing.  He or she shouldn’t always resort to sarcasm or jokes at someone else’s expense in order to get a laugh.
  • Examine your own behavior and that of other family members.  Do you rib your children at length, even after they plead with you to stop?  Do you tease inappropriately, that is, about the way people look or the habits they have?  Are you confusing razzing with teaching and discipline – for instance, do you communicate your frustration about your teen’s messy room by calling him “Mr. Slob”?  Make sure that your own teasing (and that of everyone else in your household) is good-natured, not aggressive or manipulative.

As a parent, it is also important to regulate how your teen uses the Internet.  If you know what your teen is doing while online, you can better prevent him or her from visiting message boards where the temptation to gossip exists.  The Media Awareness Network suggests considering the following questions concerning how your teen surfs the Net:

  • Are you involved in your teen’s online activities?  Do you know what he or she is doing and whom your teen is talking to when he or she is on the Internet?
  • Does your family have a set of rules or an agreement for appropriate Internet use?
  • Do you make Internet use a family activity by guiding your teen to good sites and teaching him or her how to do safe, effective searches?
  • Have you taught your teen not to believe everything he or she reads online and to check online information with an adult or with another source?
  • If your teen has her or his own website, have you checked to make sure it doesn’t contain harmful or hurtful information?
  • Have you talked to your teen about responsible online behavior?  Does he or she understand that making threats or harassing others online can be considered illegal activities?


  • Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota
  • Media Awareness Network
  • Nemours Foundation
  • UCLA Center for Communication Policy
  • U.S. Department of Justice

Is Your Child a Bully? 6 Warning Signs

Nobody likes a bully.

And it seems like bullying is everywhere — it’s not just for the playground anymore. With the rise of social media, cyberbullying has made its way into the dictionary and our lives, and it’s every bit as serious as a physical show of force. While parents must deal with children who are bullied, many parents have children that exhibit the negative behavior.

If you’re unsure of what a child bully looks like, here are six major signs:

  1. Your Child Beats People Up At School That should be a pretty big red flag. Parents are almost always notified if their children are involved in a physical altercation at school. Does your child beat you up at home? Has your child ever lashed out physically? Coping with anger through physical aggression is never productive or appropriate. The earlier in life that lesson is learned, the better.
  2. Your Kid Loves The Internet If you have a child and a computer, there’s a good chance your kid is a cyberbully. According to iSafe.Com, 53% of children in grades four through eight have admitted to posting something mean on the Internet. Monitor your child’s Internet usage as much as you can, especially usage that involves interaction with others. If that’s not enough, consider disallowing your child to participate in social media until they’re responsible enough to practice kindness and etiquette online.
  3. Your Child Is A Giant Snob Exclusivity breeds rude behavior, and social cliques at schools are common. These can be hurtful breeding grounds for picking on excluded children. Talk to your children. Let them know that people who are not as privileged, who look or act differently, or those with disabilities are nothing to be afraid of. They’re also not people you should make fun of. It’s OK to have a social group — this is a natural part of every person’s development. But make sure that the friendships and their intentions are perennially positive. Snobbery denotes some fundamental insecurity about those not like ourselves. And sometimes the most popular kids are the ones who are nice to everyone. Encourage your child to be open, curious, and kind.
  4. Your Child Takes Pleasure In Hurting Animals This isn’t just a sign that your kid is a potential bully; it’s a sign that your kid is a potential psychopath. Inflicting pain on small animals is a sign of a potentially warped view of what it means to be human, and a lack of respect and empathy. Don’t let your kid bully animals, and it will be easier to teach them not to bully people. If hurting animals becomes a pastime for your child, therapy might be in order.
  5. You’re A Bully The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, and this is especially true for social interactions. If your child routinely witnesses you complaining, gossiping, or being hurtful to others, they’re not going to learn any different. Everyone occasionally bullies someone else, even the most well-intentioned and mature adults. But if you’ve got a problem with authority or heterogeneity, don’t let your child know. Ever. Until they’re about 30, your kids are pretty much allowed to blame all negative personality traits on you.
  6. Your Child Has Health Problems Disrupted sleep patterns in young children have been linked to exhibitions of bullying behavior. And if your child has a chemical imbalance — such as ADD or nonsituational depression — there’s always a possibility they could act out. Interrupted breathing, bad diet, and other physical maladies could also play a role. Mind and body are interconnected, and will always affect one another. Help your child to be healthy, and expect healthy social behaviors, as well.

Source: Online Psychology Degree

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Bullying: 10 Ways Technology Has Made Cyberbullying and Bullying Worse

When we were growing up there were bullies.  Nobody liked to be bullied, but it was a fact of life that you had to deal with kids that weren’t very nice.  Now, schools are so anti-bullying that anything that even slightly seems like bullying is taken very seriously.  At least when we were growing up they didn’t have Facebook to upload embarrassing videos to that would ruin a person’s life.

Check out 10 ways technology makes bullying worse.

  1. Facebook: Embarrassing pictures and videos can be uploaded to Facebook in a matter of a few seconds and ruin someone’s life forever.  Kids do not understand the damage that something like that can do to a person.  People have actually committed suicide because of events like these.
  2. Cell phones: Growing up we did not have cell phones.  Kids these days have the ability to take pictures at a moment’s notice and sometimes not in the most appropriate places.  Nude pictures of students in the shower or in the locker room have also caused suicides.
  3. Texting: Kids can bully by texting now.  They can text everyone else at the same time something bad or embarrassing about someone else.  They can also send pictures over their phone to everyone on their contact list.  Bullying like this can make someone’s life miserable.
  4. Flip cameras: These cameras are used to shoot quick videos at close range and can be uploaded to the Internet.  Kids that want to bully just have to take embarrassing videos of a student and share them with everyone.  Or a video can be sent to a parent as well that would get them grounded or in trouble.
  5. You Tube: A lot of good things have happened to people by posting a video on You Tube, but a lot of bad stuff has happened too.  People love to be the first one to dish the dirt on someone else.  They witness a fight they grab their cell phone and upload it to You Tube.  Or they set someone up and post what they think is a funny video to You Tube, but it’s actually very embarrassing.  People don’t think they are bullying when they do this stuff, but they really are.
  6. Gaming systems: Many online gaming systems allow conversations between the players.  Teens have reported that someone pretending to be them said mean things or embarrassing things to another person.  This kind of bullying is hard to stop and hard to track.  It does however cause a lot of problems for today’s teens.
  7. Blogs: There are teens that create blogs that post the latest gossip about people and will say nasty things about people.  Teens feel that they are anonymous and that no one can tell who is doing the bullying, but there are ways to track down who’s doing it and there are some big consequences.  If the bullying leads to a suicide the teen who is behind the bullying can be brought up on charges and sent to jail.  Lesser sentences are losing privileges to use a computer for 2 years.  Try doing your homework without a computer these days.
  8. Chat sites: Other sites online have chat rooms where teens can go and chat with their friends online.  People can go into these chat rooms and make up a user name and start saying bad things about kids in that chat room.  Many times there is a chat room that the students frequent because all their friends go there so when someone bullies in a chat room a lot of that kid’s peer group could be reading it.
  9. E-mail: Bullies steal identities and will sign into an e-mail account and send damaging e-mails pretending to be that teen.  Inappropriate messages to a female teacher or a nasty message to the principal are all things that can really get that child in trouble and they didn’t do anything.  Remind your child to keep passwords absolutely private.
  10. Instant messaging: Bullies will try to send nasty instant messages threatening to do something to a teen when they see them next.  Or tell them that they are going to make sure that they don’t get something they want at school like a part in the play or a solo in choir.  Bullying can take many forms even if it’s just telling someone that they did a terrible job on their audition or they overheard someone important say that they did a terrible job.  Anything like that is going to put undue stress on that child.  Make sure that your child is aware and being safe.

Source:  Full Time Nanny

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Teen Secrets Parents Should Know

Do you know where your teen goes - virtually?

Kids and especially teens are notorious for keeping secrets from their parents, and in today’s world of technology they have a whole new world of ways to keep secrets.

Since kids are also incredibly adept at learning and using modern technology and the following list may help you keep better track of what your child may be hiding.

  1. Surfing the Internet: Today, kids have almost unlimited access to computers, and now computers are small enough to carry, enabling access to the internet literally anywhere. This gives kids easy access to sites parents may disapprove of, not to mention “adult only” sites that only ask the user to click a link stating they are over 18 years of age. That’s an easy button to click if you want to keep secrets from parents. Close monitoring of your child’s computer history, password protection and parental blocks can keep your child away from inappropriate sites.
  2. Downloads: Kids love to download- anything they can: pictures, jokes, videos, etc. These downloads may be putting your computer at risk for viruses that could cause permanent damage. Parents need to know the source of any download and that it is safe, as well as keeping up-to-date antivirus protection on all computers.
  3. Music Downloads: What kind of music are your kids downloading and listening to? Even if the site is safe, the music might not be. Listen to the music downloads. If you are not able to understand the lyrics of the songs, you may want to check them out. You can find an internet music site that has song lyrics available to read. Be careful, though, if you do not allow your child to download certain titles, he/she will probably change the file name of the prohibited song to something allowable.
  4. Uploads: Kids are not very discerning when it comes to what others should or should not know about themselves, and their families. Find out what sorts of pictures, text and other files your child might be sharing on social networking sites or shared folders.
  5. Games: What games are your kids playing? Playstation, X-box, computer games, both individual and interactive-online are filled with violence and “adult” themes. Monitor the games your child buys or rents; most are labeled with age guidelines and parental notices. Also, monitor your child’s history with online games. Install a computer block that allows access to only approved sites.
  6. Friends: Kids have many friends. Some of them, they don’t even know. Facebook and other online social networking sites make it easy for children to fall prey to predatory abusers disguised as “friends.” If your child has a Facebook or other social networking accounts, make sure that you know their username and password, and check in on their activity once in awhile.
  7. Cell phone use: How much time your kids spend on the phone, when they are calling and who they are calling are important to know. Read the itemized portion of your bill each month to double check, and if there is a number you don’t recognize or don’t want your child accessing, have it blocked through your service carrier.
  8. Texting: With unlimited texting capabilities on cell phone plans, your kids can text anyone at any time, day or night. Parents need to know who they are texting and the language they are both reading and using while they are texting.
  9. Abbreviations: LOL, and CUL maybe be familiar “social” abbreviations, and ROLOFLMHO may be used by your kids without any qualms, but ROLOFLMAO might be offensive to some parents. Do you know the difference? Also, new abbreviations are added to the lexicon of technical communication on a daily basis. As a parent you need to be familiar with abbreviations so as to know what your kids are saying. You can check the internet for sites that list abbreviations and meanings.
  10. Plagiarism and cheating: That kids are able to access information which expedites learning in ways never before thought of, is a wonderful outcome of technology today. That kids can also use this information to cheat in ways never before thought of, isn’t.

Kids will be kids, and they will try to “get away” with anything they can; this will never change. But the world of technology changes every day, and if parents remain technologically savvy, kids will have to work very hard to continue keeping those secrets.

Source: Internet Providers

Parenting Teens: Community Education – Circle of RESPECT

What is Circle of Respect?

To promote RESPECT as a way to manage conflict and prevent criminal behavior.

Let’s face it, many of today’s teens and kids lack the respect that generations prior had for authority and even their parents.  Teens and children are controlling  the home, driving parents crazy and simply don’t honor their elders as they should.

So what does Circle of Respect do?

The Circle of Respect is the National Crime Prevention Council’s (NCPC) latest and most comprehensive campaign to protect youth from bullying and cyberbullying. Launching in October, the campaign seeks to change the commonly held belief that bullying is a rite of passage, and teaches instead that such behavior is unacceptable through a positive, pro-social message that encourages respect and consideration for others. To succeed in its mission, the Circle of Respect will feature an education campaign, outreach materials including publications and public service advertising, and partnership efforts to reach a national audience.

One of the strong components of Circle of Respect is educating parents and schools about bullying and cyberbullying.  This is a growing concern and deadly issue that needs to be addressed by the entire country.  Florida, however, has landed on many national headlines with the near death of Michael Brewer and Josie Lou Ratley as well as the special needs 13 year-old girl that was taunted on her school bus – with condoms!

Did you know 160,000 kids miss school every day out of fear of being bullied? The recent cases of young people who have tragically ended their lives because they were so badly bullied are a painful example that there is a serious problem in America today. There is no better time than the present to start changing these statistics…and we can do so through education!

Do you want to become more active in The Circle of Respect?  Here are some other ways you can do so:

  • Circle of Respect Book Club: Take part in the online Book Club to generate a guided national discussion about this issue. The Book Club will feature one book each month on the Circle of Respect’s website by a noted author in the field of bullying and cyberbullying. Each author will also lead an in-depth discussion via a downloadable podcast.
  • Sign up for Email Alerts: Sign up for email alertsto get updates on the campaign, find out how you can be involved, get sneak previews of what’s happening next, and even enter contests.
  • Make Your Pledge: What actions will you pledge to take in order to spread awareness and widen the Circle of Respect? Let us know.
  • View Pledges: Sign up for your own free account on The Circle of Respect to see what others are doing to help.
  • Take Awareness Video Viral:NCPC and Saatchi & Saatchi unveiled an animated short starring everyone’s favorite crime dog,McGruff®,  to teach a whole new generation of children how to “Take A Bite Out of Crime.” View and share the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bizeJYJJVdU
  • Simply spread the word:It’s as easy as it sounds. Share the campaign online via your social networks and also talk openly with your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and/or peers.
  • Join us on Facebook:Become a fan today and share your ideas and stories with the community.

For more information, visit: www.circleofrespect.org

Watch the video.

Be an educated parent, you will have safer families.

Read more.

Bullying of Overweight Teens: Support for Parents and Teens

Bullying is one of today’s growing and serious trends in our country today.  Whether a student has a sexual preference that you don’t agree with, or a child that is overweight, bullying is becoming a way to harass and harm kids.  School violence is being used as kids are being hurt.

Promoting health, wellness and good eating habits is sometimes difficult for busy parents.  According to a recent Harris Interactive poll, 30% of us who are overweight or obese think that we are just fine, thanks, and 70% of us who are obese think that we are merely overweight.  Our self-esteem, in other words, hasn’t skipped a beat.  Some have even surmised that “fat is the new norm,” our perceptions gradually adapting to the sight of our heavier friends, neighbors, and acquaintances around us.

Weight discrimination has increased a whopping 66% over the past decade, and is “comparable to rates of racial discrimination, especially among women.” Weight bias affects the workplace, media, healthcare, schools, and yes, family life.  A recent study reveals that parents discriminate againsttheir own overweight kids by being less willing to help pay for college or buy them a car.

Sadly, weight bias is no joke, but like any form of bullying, a potentially deadly affair.  Overweight kids and teens are often physically bullied, taunted, and excluded by peers, family members, teachers, and other authority figures.  Not only does criticism and public pressure about one’s weight tend to increase eating disorders, comfort-eating, reduced physical activity, and weight gain, but it contributes to depression, damaged self-esteem, poor body image, and even suicidality.

So what can parents do? Get educated.  Watch three fantastic videos on weight bias and kids from Yale University’s Rudd Center and share them with your family, your PTO or PTA, your school principal, your friends.  Read posts on Fitsmi from a teen who was bullied for her weight; a girl who suffered drive-by insults; a teen teased by her brother and his friend; a Mom reflecting on the importance of praising a daughter’s beauty, at any size.  Increase sensitivity to weight bias in your home, raise awareness at your local schools, and make sure that in a tough world, your child at least has one person he or she can turn to:  you.

Visit FitsmiForMoms.com for more valuable and educational information.  Watch video on sidebar to learn more about how Fitsmi can fit into your parenting!

Source: Fitsmi.com

Jacksonville has been chosen as one of 50 communities across the country to receive a grant to reverse the childhood obesity epidemic.

Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities, made possible with a grant through the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) based out of New Jersey, will focus on “neighborhoods where obesity is exacerbated by issues like acute unemployment and poverty, crime, dangerous traffic or too few grocery stores.

Be an educated parent, you will have healthier teens.

Read more.

Parents Universal Resource Experts – Sue Scheff: Teens Settling for GED’s?

Wow – this is a topic I speak with parents about on almost a daily basis.  Teens today think it is an easy solution – drop out of school and get a GED!  Years ago, it was not only frowned upon – it was targeted at those in trouble with the law, another words, juvenile delinquents.  Take a minute to read these parenting tips from Connect with Kids – help keep your teens in school!

Source: Connect with Kids

“If you get your high school diploma, you’re going to be better off. If you get some college, you’re going to be better off. If you get a bachelors degree, you’re going to be better off.”

– Martin Segura, Education Counselor

For some students, earning a GED seemed like the next best thing to a high school degree. But a new report from the University of Chicago finds that a GED holds little value in helping students succeed in today’s competitive job market.

Tanya dropped out of high school after her sophomore year. “That was my dream, to walk across that stage, but because I got pregnant, they told me I couldn’t go back,” recounts 18-year-old Tanya Sado.

By the time she was ready to go back, she was too old, so she decided to try another route. Tanya decided to get her GED, or General Educational Development certificate.

“Well, you can’t find a good job without education,” Tanya says. “What can you do with your life?”

The problem is, because of the recession and because so many more young people are attending college today, some educators argue that a GED has never been less valuable.

It’s not worthless, they say, but more today than ever, “If you get your high school diploma, you’re going to be better off. If you get some college, you’re going to be better off. If you get a bachelors degree, you’re going to be better off,” says education counselor, Martin Segura.

Today, unemployment rate for people without their high school diploma is over 15 percent.

“To the extent that students do not develop, um, those skills, don’t have those trainings, don’t have those degrees or credentials. They’re headed for a very difficult, a brutal collision path where they’re going to end up with leftover jobs, jobs that nobody else wants,” explains Hector Madrigal, Director of Pupil Services in the Los Angeles Unified School District.

The GED just doesn’t have the value it once did. Even the military agrees. “The job market in general in today’s society is extremely difficult to get into. Any job that you go to, you know most of them want you to have at least high school, some college,” explains Staff Sergeant Matthew Jacobs of the U.S. Marine Corps. “Well Marines, we’re just another job like everybody else. We’re looking for the same qualifications.”

Tanya’s advice to other kids? “I would say don’t leave, don’t give it up for anything.”

What Parents Need To Know

According to the Alliance for Excellence in Education, a new report by economists at the University of Chicago, released by the National Bureau of Economic Research, raises questions about whether GED-based programs are the right approach to make sure students complete high school. Looking at a variety of studies of GED recipients over the years, the report concludes that people who receive GEDs fare little better economically than high school dropouts when factors such as their greater academic abilities are taken into consideration.

While it’s easy to place the blame on a child when he or she drops out of school, it doesn’t address the most important problem: What can be done to educate this student? The National Mental Health and Education Center offers the following hints to help parents on the road to problem-solving:

  • Focus on student goals: Instead of focusing on why your child is unsuccessful in school, have your child identify what he or she wants to get from the school experience. Have him or her list school, home and personal barriers to reaching that goal. Sometimes talking about getting past the barriers to reaching a goal helps focus efforts more productively than just complaining or quitting.
  • Encourage school involvement: Encourage your child to attend school regularly and to be involved in at least one extracurricular activity at school or with groups of students who are currently in school. These activities make your child feel like part of the group, important to the school and more motivated to perform in order to participate. If your child’s lack of academic success restricts him or her from every activity except academics, your child often sees no value in continuing to try. He or she must have something positive to look forward to that will meet the kinship/companionship needs of being a teen. If your child isn’t able to meet these needs in the school setting, he or she often finds ways to meet these needs in less desirable settings and groups.
  • Consider alternative school settings: Speak with the school counselor and/or school psychologist to see if your child’s goals can be reached in the current school environment. If not, have the school identify ideas for alternative settings for your child’s learning. Include your child in all discussions with school personnel. If you investigate alternative education settings, have your child make the contacts and visits, complete forms and ask questions. He or she must see that personal responsibility is a must when being asked to be treated as an adult.
  • Consider realistic postsecondary goals: Don’t get hung up on the issue of your child going to college. The more important question is “What does my child find interesting, and what is he or she good at?” and “Which of these skill areas is marketable?” If attending college is the way to reach the vocational goal, set steps in place to get there. In many cases, a postsecondary technical training or two-year community college program is more appropriate to meet your child’s goals and get him or her employable.
  • Consider the GED: This equivalency examination is very well-respected among employers and higher education institutions. Students can study for this examination through community education programs, alternative education programs or independently. The point is to stress to your child that the diploma or GED is only the first step to finishing his or her education. The workforce of tomorrow will require postsecondary education for even entry-level jobs.
  • Identify special needs: Consult with school personnel to determine if your child might have a specific learning or behavior problem interfering with learning. Low achievement, retention in grade and behavioral difficulties are highly predictive of dropping out of school. Assessment of possible learning and behavior problems might help identify special services to help your child find school more successful.