Teen Challenge – Back to School – Fall 2021

Good Morning! Here’s the Monday Morning Blog!

Have you touched base with your teen yet? A great way to get involved in a teen or young adult’s life is to help them get ready for school. Whether it is shopping for school supplies or new clothes you could offer to take them shopping. Maybe make a day out of it?

This month I am focusing on the subject of getting back to school. This week I will discuss some of the challenges for teens and parents as they get back on track to start school this fall.

Many kids are heading back to school in the next month. How will things look compared to last year? I think we all learned that being flexible and adapting to an ever-changing situation is what helped us to do things differently than we did before.

I understand that the going back to school experience may not the same across all schools. So for this blog post, I picked three general topics to talk about. Remote vs. in person learning structure, Mask or no mask requirements, and the effects last school year had on peer groups and how they may interact going forward.

Remote vs. in person learning

Last fall I wrote a post about remote learning. Here is a link to it Back to School and Virtual Learning.

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With the online learning that came with COVID, teens got to interact with their teachers and classmates in a different way. This method worked for some teens and for others it didn’t. How did your teen do?

With the vaccine, many people believe that in person learning will be more the trend this year but be willing to be flexible. With multiple variants of the disease, we may have another wave of learning with some remote learning and some in person until we can get things a little more under control.

Be available to help your teens succeed at any learning structure they encounter. If they seem to be struggling and you don’t feel that you can help, check with their teachers for additional resources.

Mask or no mask required

When teens started going back to school on a part time basis, masks were a big part of it. Not only for keeping their germs to themselves, but they also became kind of a fashion statement with everyone making all of the custom designs.

Wearing them or not wearing them has become a very personal and political issue and each state seems to have a different mandate when it comes to wearing masks. From what I understand, it helps you not to spread your germs to others. If that is the case and you are in a classroom with multiple people, it may help to decrease your chances of spreading it if you have it. If it could possibly protect myself and others, that is what I would choose to do. Since we are dealing with a pandemic, I think it should be about what we can do to help slow the progress of the disease.

Effects on peer groups

In the past school year, teens didn’t get to spend much time with their classmates in a classroom setting. A big part of the whole going to school process is being able to experience it with classmates. In the book review I did last week, Anatomy of a Misfit, is about the structure of the peer groups that was found at Pound High School and how they interacted.

I think the biggest thing that may have affected by virtual learning is a slower development of teen soft skills. We talk a lot about these in business circles, but they are personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people.



Parents and teachers have had concerns with teens being so attached to their smart phones and possibly missing out on in person interactions to communicate with others. Online learning from home isolated them from having that physical contact with their friends, but this day and age, teens are very technology driven with social media apps. Maybe they are able to continue communicating with their own peer group, but how about the interaction with other peer groups? That will be something to watch as we move back into more of an in-person model for back to school.


My advice, be sure to stay flexible about your back-to-school plan. Things could be still in a flux due to COVID. But remind your teen to do the best they can to enjoy the experience. It is all a part of their journey.


Back to school with The Way Series

Looking for a good back to school read? Check out The Way Series. The books in this series are coming of age novels focusing on the challenges teens face. Find out more info and a link to order your copies on the books tab of my website.

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Have a great week!


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