SEL Focus: Help teens build strong positive relationships

As we begin the 2018-2019 school year, students are getting to know new teachers and new classmates. As parents and educators, our wish is for our teens to build strong positive relationships with the adults and peers they encounter. Social and emotional learning (SEL) helps students learn skills that will be used in school and life. As a district, EISD has chosen to highlight relationship skills as our SEL focus for the first nine weeks.

Having a friend and feeling included is important and only becomes more important as teens move through adolescence. We all have the basic need to feel like we belong and/or are part of the group. As school leaders, we try to build classrooms that support students in feeling like they are part of the classroom community. A positive classroom community fosters the connection and collaboration that improves both a feeling of self-worth and academic achievement.

Parents can support their adolescent in building positive relationships by working collaboratively with other parents. It is normal for teens to want more privacy in relationships with their friends; however, it is still important for parents to know the parents of their teen's friends. Teens often compare themselves to their friends and may feel they are being treated unfairly. Connecting with parents of your teen's friends helps hold teens accountable for their behavior while also giving parents a collaborative partner "to create common expectations" ("What Parents Can Do To Support Friendships" by Kenneth R. Ginsburg, MS, MS Ed, and Sara B. Kinsman, MD, PhD.)