Early adolescence can be a challenging time for children and parents alike. Parents often feel unprepared and they may view the years from 10 through 14 as a time just "to get through." However, research and common sense tell us that this view is very limited. During the early adolescent years, parents and families can greatly influence the growth and development of their children. We sell our children short if we expect little from them and we sell ourselves short if we believe that we have no influence.
A growing awareness that young adolescents can accomplish a great deal is behind a national effort to improve education in America's middle grades. At the heart of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 is a promise to raise standards for all children and to help all children meet those standards. In support of this goal, President George W. Bush is committed to promoting the very best teaching programs. Well-trained teachers and instruction that is based on research can bring the best teaching approaches and programs to children of all ages and help ensure that no child is left behind. Helping Your Child through Early Adolescence is part of the president's efforts to provide parents with the latest research and practical information that can help you support your children both at home and in school.
It's not easy to raise a young teen. Many outside influences distract our children and complicate our efforts. Exhaustion, anxiety, a lack of support and limited resources may make it hard for us to be all that we want to be for our children. But whatever the challenges, we share one aim: to do the best job possible as parents. We hope that you will find this booklet helpful in achieving this goal.