Make the Time

Student leaders need to share what is going on in school, at athletic events, or at any school activity. It is the parents job to listen and learn. Just be there!

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Nurturing Your Student Leader

1.  Teach response-ability
Responsibilities should not be seen as burdens or punishments.  Leaders must respond to their duties according to their abilities.  When their response is lacking, then they must improve their ability level.  Leadership skills must be continually practiced.

2.  Celebrate achievement & effort
No matter whether others do so or not—celebrate both achievement and effort.  Be over the top.

3. Leadership is learned
Leadership is an ongoing process; it cannot be captured in a single moment and NO ONE is a born leader.  Encourage learning “people skills.” Establish a high "comfort level" for open dialogue about issues. Listening and just “being there” are key.

4.  Respect means unconditional acceptance
Point out stereotypes and cultural misinformation depicted in movies, TV shows, computer games and other media. Challenge bias when it comes from friends and family members. Do not let the moment pass. Begin with a qualified statement: "Andrew just called people of XYZ faith 'lunatics.' What do you think about that, Sally?" Let children do most of the talking.

5. Challenge exclusive behaviors & attitudes
When anyone says or does something that reflects biases or embodies stereotypes, point it out: “Why is that joke funny?”  Leaders use humor to include—not exclude.

6. Leaders must deal with rejection and failure
Acknowledge their troubles.  Do not minimize the experience.  Provide emotional support and brainstorm constructive responses.

7.  Foster healthy group identities
For tweens and teens, group identity is critical. Remind them, however, of three things. First, pride in our own groups does not mandate disrespect for others. Second, no group is entitled to special privileges. Third, we should avoid putting other groups down as a way to elevate the status of our own groups.

8.  Know what’s what and who’s who
You too must know the role being played, what is required and especially who can help.  Know what resources are available within the school and the community.  Consider this, if your child were playing a sport—you would want to know the rules and who the coaches are.

9.  Be flexible but firm about family commitments
Be as supportive as possible—when it is possible to accommodate the demands of the leadership position, do so.  When it isn’t possible SAY so. 

10.  Be there 
Be a “true point.”  Be there for the good times and the bad.  Know what is going on, help when you can and LISTEN all the time.