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Story ideas designed to help parents help their children.


"Social relationships are solidified during the first 4-8 weeks of school," says Miami educational psychology professor Dr. Richard Luftig. He suggests parents can help their youngsters fit in by following some social ground rules.

"If your kids are nervous about making new friends, remind them not to overcompensate by bragging, or lying or calling too much attention to themselves. Remind them to be friendly and helpful." Then after school, ask them how it's going, says Luftig. He says parents should keep apprised of, and be willing to assist with, children's social as well as academic growth.

Call Richard Luftig at 513-529-6636.



You can ease the "newness" of a new school for children by taking them there before classes start and touring the building, meeting teachers, and spending time to familiarize yourselves with the playground and other school areas, suggests Miami educational psychologist Dr. Alex Thomas.

It might help to call ahead to meet a teacher or school administrator. Thomas says you, as well as your child, should be comfortable with the new school. "Children often model parents' reactions," says Thomas. "If you're calm about it, they're more likely to accept the situation."

Call Alex Thomas at (513) 529-6632.



Don't wait until your child's teacher tells you he has a discipline problem to become involved in his schooling. Stay tuned to potential conflict by asking your child specific questions about the school day, advises Dr. Alex Thomas, associate professor of educational psychology at Miami and former president of the National Association of School Psychologists.

If your child tells you the teacher is mean, be objective and positive, Thomas says. "Remember, what your child tells you about school may be as exaggerated as what your child tells the teacher about home." Also, Thomas says, it's much better to try to iron out a conflict with the person involved before going to the principal or school board.

Call Alex Thomas at (513) 529-6632.



The start of college brings new opportunities and new fears for parents and children. How does a family handle the transition in relationships? "It's confusing for both sides," acknowledges Miami student services director Jim Slager. "Parents ought to know they no longer have control over their grown children, although they should feel free to offer advice and support."

"Children who have moved away to school shouldn't be afraid to ask for help nor to admit they miss their families," says Slager. Open communication is the difficult, but necessary means to keep the parent-child relationship strong, Slager suggests. "Also, parents need to allow kids to make mistakes. A little leeway helps to build trust."

Call Jim Slager at 513-529-3051.


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