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It seems that every parent I speak to at the moment is focused on the schooling of their kids. In the Netherlands its the time of year when your 12 year old teenager gets a place at the middelbaar school (junior high inUSA, and senior school inUK). The worry is whether your teenager will get in to the “best” school for them, or if they have to go to their second choice school.

At this time of year too, the 14 and 15 year old teenagers have to choose the subjects they will study for final exams. Depending on how they scored when they were twelve determines how many years they spend in middelbaar school, and how far away their final exams are.

The system has been in place for years, and as parents we know the importance of these decisions, right? But sometimes its good to listen to your teenager. They are the ones who have to spend four, five or six years at the school day in, day out, coping with tests and teachers, friendships and fakes, twitter and whatsapp.

If your kid says to you “I don’t fit in here” they are giving you a really clear message that you know you have to act upon. But what if the messages are not so clear? there are many signs that can show you that your teenager is not happy at school.

Is your teen:

  • Overly troubled about having the “right” gear? Do their shoes, jacket, or mobile phone have to conform to their peers?
  • Do they seem withdrawn, quiet and have few social activities planned with school friends?
  • Do their marks swing wildly, some days getting good marks and other days bad?
  • Are they emotional, easily upset?
  • Are you always chasing them so they are not late for school?
  • Do they ask you to call them in sick?

If you recognise any of these symptoms in your teenager, its time to talk to them, ask them what’s going on, and see what steps you can take as a family to help your teenager enjoy their school experience. Let them know that a problem shared is a problem halved, and you are there to support them.

If you this blog post strikes a chord with you and you feel you need to improve  communication with your teenager, then please contact me at or +31 624161961.