Lesson Plan Guide: Pressures And Parents

By Matt Andrews

CONTENT AREAS: Advisory, Careers, Life Skills, Homeroom, English, Social Studies, Health


  • Students will reflect on their communication skills used with parents
  • Students will begin conversations with parents and mentors to help them be better prepared for life after high school


  • PS:C1.6 Identify resource people in the school and community, and know how to seek their help
  • PS:C1.7 Apply effective problem-solving and decision-making skills to make safe and healthy choices
  • PS:A1.10 Identify personal strengths and assets


No special prior knowledge is necessary to complete the lesson.


This lesson is an opportunity for students to better understand the pressures they feel from their parents, and how to resolve some of their own conflicting interests. Students read the article independently and complete the handout before having a class discussion.

The lesson also provides a take-home handout designed to facilitate conversations with students and their parents and mentors on how to find one’s calling in life, acquire the skills and knowledge to excel in today’s society, and the role parents and mentors play in one’s success.


Distribute and read the article, Pressures and Parents. Open discussion for any general comments students have about the article (5 minutes)

Distribute the handout and instruct students to answer the questions on a separate piece of paper. Remind the students that there are right answers to many of these questions, but these are ungraded questions, the important part is that they provide an opportunity for self-assessment by every student. (15 minutes)

Brainstorm communication tools and other strategies for students to meet their goals while minimizing the potential conflicting interests of parents. (10 minutes)

Pass out the take-home handout and review it with students. You may provide it simply as a resource, or you have the option to turn it into an assignment and have the students talk to parents and mentors and return with answers to the three questions. (5 minutes)


Identify your strengths and resources for college

Research suggests that many teenagers are ambitious about college, but lack direction and preparation to succeed. Many college students often underestimate the resources available to help them succeed in college.

Too many college students overestimate their academic preparation, especially their ability to study effectively. The writing tasks below will help you discover what you know.

What is the source of your college knowledge?
Make a list of who has told you what about college; what you have learned from television and Internet; and also the other sources of what you know about college.



Are you prepared for college?
Describe the skills you have that will help you be successful in college. Explain your answer now, and find a counselor, mentor, parent, or adult to check your answer this week.


Communication is key
List 3 specific communication tools that you have to talk to your parents. Describe how you have used these skills in the past with your parents.


Describe your conflicting interests.
One important role of a teenager is to begin to assume responsibility for productive work in adult society. After high school graduation, you will have more independence and responsibility than you did in elementary school. Now is your time to better understand the conflicting interests in your own life, and begin assuming responsibility for the things you think are important in your life.

Write about a few things in life where you assume responsibility, and try to identify times when your interests conflict with one another.





Dear Teenager,

We work with schools and organizations that prepare teenagers for college and life. Our research suggests that many teenagers do not understand three things about their education:

  1. Vocational preparation
  2. Liberal arts skills
  3. Role of family and mentors

We suggest you talk about these three things with as many people as you can, and you can start talking today with a parent or mentor. Here are three guiding questions

1. "Vocation" is one's calling in life, and using ones talents and capabilities to do good in the world. How does a person find and prepare for their vocation?

2. "Liberal Arts" are the knowledge and skills one must acquire to become a free citizen in society. How does a person prepare in the liberal arts?

3. How can family support and hinder success in life? How do parents and teens find supportive mentors?

The best way to be better prepared for college and life is to explore your vocational interests, practice liberal arts skills, and connect regularly with family and mentors who support your efforts. A school, program, or research alone does not provide vocational and liberal arts preparation with support of family and mentors. Your task as a teenager is to discover these things for yourself.

Schools, teachers, family, and mentors may be there to help you, but you must find these answers for yourself. Too many teenagers worry about grades, friends, and getting into college without proper attention to these other important life skills.

You need to identify for yourself what is important for your life, your family, teachers, and mentors can support your efforts, but you must identify your own vocation and work hard to develop skills to prepare you to assume a responsible role in society.

We encourage you to begin this conversation with your family and mentors today. These are challenging questions and will take some time for you to answer, but it is important that you start having this conversation today with people that you respect and admire. This conversation is the first step to prepare you for life after graduation.



Pressures and Parents

About the Author

Matt Andrews