Tenth Grade: How to Help

Tenth Grade • If he's showing a special aptitude for a particular subject, such as history, encourage it by asking a lot of questions. But avoid disparaging his abilities in other areas, such as math or science. He shouldn't think that being good at one thing necessarily means he's bad at others.

• He's probably craving diverse experiences and adventure, so you might consider sending him on a trip for the summer with a church group, a local youth organization or one of the youth-travel programs, such as Outward Bound.

• While you may consider his silence golden, try to draw him out by showing him that you are quietly there for him. Rather than ask him 1,001 questions as soon as he walks in from school, subtly plant a seed that demonstrates your willingness to talk. "I heard that it's easy to buy drugs at the corner park," you might say. Then wait to see what happens.

• Be very clear about your concerns about his driving. Make sure he knows that if he has ever had something to drink or has taken any drugs, you will come and pick him up, no questions asked that evening. (You're certainly entitled to quiz and punish him the next morning.) He should also know not to get into the car with a bad driver or someone who has been drinking.

More skills and milestones:

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