Topic outline

  • Parent Interest Articles

  • Failure - why it's important

    We often learn more through failure than we do from our successes yet we find it so difficult to let our children fail.  Here are some arguments that we should let them fail, provided we help them to learn the lessons that go with this.


  • Celia Lashlie

    Researcher and social commentator, Celia Lashlie has based her comments on her experience as a prison officer in a male prison.  Here is her advice for parents.

    • Mindset

      Mindsets are beliefs--beliefs about yourself and your most basic qualities. Think about your intelligence, your talents, your personality. Are these qualities simply fixed traits, carved in stone and that's that? Or are they things you can cultivate throughout your life?

      People with a fixed mindset believe that their traits are just givens. They have a certain amount of brains and talent and nothing can change that. If they have a lot, they're all set, but if they don't... So people in this mindset worry about their traits and how adequate they are. They have something to prove to themselves and others.

      People with a growth mindset, on the other hand, see their qualities as things that can be developed through their dedication and effort. Sure they're happy if they're brainy or talented, but that's just the starting point. They understand that no one has ever accomplished great things--not Mozart, Darwin, or Michael Jordan--without years of passionate practice and learning.


    • The Teenage Brain

      The teenage brain: A neuroscientist's survival guide to raising adolescents and young adults written by Frances Jensen and Amy Nutt provides a fascinating insight into the workings of the human brain, in particular what happens as young people enter adolescence.  The book also provides information about the impact of different substances and behaviours on the teenage brain.  The video clips below discuss this topic further and may help parents to understand some of their son's behaviour and the choices they make.


    • Parental Involvement in Education

      Recently the New Zealand School Trustees Association published a summary of international research highlighting the importance and impact of parental support in the education of their children.  Key points included the conclusion that "Family participation in education was twice as predictive of students' academic success as socioeconomic status” and that the greater the level of parental involvement, the more beneficial the achievement effects.  When parents are involved, students are likely to have higher academic grades, better school attendance records, increased motivation and higher self-esteem and decreased risks of being involved in violent and anti-social behaviour.

      The article at the link below provides some suggestions for how parents can effectively involve themselves in their sons education.

    • Teenage Vices - Information for Parents

      "Despite what you may hear in the school grounds, read in some magazines ... you cannot buy euphoria. At best you can lease it temporarily and the charges are high.  People take mood altering chemicals because they enjoy altering their moods. But for every high there is a low; for every trip a return journey."
      The 'Great Brain Robbery' - Tom Scott and Trevor Grice

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    • The Demise of Guys

      In a recent Sunday Star-Times article, psychiatrist and professor emeritus at Stanford University, Philip Zimbardo, discussed his concerns about the impact of the online world on the real-world lives of young men, in particular that "masculinity as we know it is being destroyed by online porn and gaming.”  He cited recent research indicating young men spend on average 15 hours per week gaming and up to 44 hours per week on 'screen time' - gaming, social media, other online activities including viewing pornography and television - time that traditionally would have been spent engaged in sleeping, reading, writing, socialising with friends and family, playing sport or participating in cultural activities. 

      In his newly published book Man (Dis)connected, Zimbardo identifies that the average young male spends 10,000 hours online by the age of 21, the equivalent of 14 months, 24 hours per day.  His concern is that the significant amount of time spent online robs young men of opportunities to make themselves comfortable in their social environment, creating a downward spiral in which they become less confident and comfortable in real-world social environments and therefore try to avoid them, resulting in increased awkwardness and further eroding confidence.  "The problem is that young men become entirely absorbed by their online world.  They lose track of time and put off real-life tasks to stay at the computer.”  This, Zimbardo believes, contributes to 'arousal addiction', which is an issue because "the brain adapts to overstimulation, so real life sexual and social partners can't compete.”

      Zimbardo's advice to boys is to "turn off games, turn off porn and instead turn on people, learn to dance, make female friends, exercise regularly outside and set long-term goals in the real world.  The crucial thing is to become future orientated rather than stuck in a virtual present.”


      In 2011 Philip Zimbardo gave a TED talk called The Demise of Guys? which has subsequently been viewed nearly two million times.

    • Screen Addiction

      Late night online gaming, social media and other digital distractions, cyber bullying and a lack of sleep, combined with the consumption of energy drinks, are impacting on the health and academic achievement of young men.  The articles and websites below provide more detail.

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    • Student Wellbeing

      Below are inks to resources and websites that provide information about young peoples wellbeing and mental health.  However, it is important that 'internet diagnosis' does not replace the work of experienced and trained professionals.  Should you have any concerns about your sons wellbeing please contact the school Guidance Counsellor, Mr Adams.  


    • Social Media and Digital Distraction

      The use of the internet, social media and other electronic communication is now a core component of daily life for a significant number of young men, especially those in the senior school.  While there are many positives from the use of social media and other electronic communication, there are also a number of risks and negative aspects.  Unfortunately a growing number of young men are making poor choices in their use of social media.  Furthermore, the distractions provided by social media, late night gaming and the ubiquitous nature of young people's online connections, are having a negative impact on the family life, personal interactions and completion of school work for a some young men.

      The links below will direct you to resources intended to assist parents to work with their sons in a proactive manner in order to keep them safe online.

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    • Year 9 Study Support Presentation

      This presentation contains suggestions for how you can support your son with his homework and study.  This was presented to Year 9 parents on Monday, 23 February.  Please contact Mr Rob Ferreira ( if you have any questions.

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    • Literacy Strategies at PNBHS

      It is becoming increasingly important that students have good literacy skills in order to achieve formal qualifications.  This article explains the school wide literacy initiatives at Palmerston North Boys' High School.


    • Physical activity and academic success

      The end of term three typically sees a decline in student physical activity as many winter sports conclude.  It is important that young men continue to be physically active for their own health and well being.  This article from the New Zealand Herald describes research linking student academic performance to physical fitness.

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    • Improving Memory

      Developing your memory is an essential skill for examination success.  These articles provide some suggestions on how this can be achieved and some general information on how the brain works.


    • Summer Learning Loss

      Summer learning loss is the loss in academic skills and knowledge over the course of the summer holidays.  While not a common discussion theme in New Zealand, it has been the subject of much research in overseas settings.  The loss in learning varies between age levels and subjects.  A common finding across numerous studies is that on average, students score lower in mathematics and reading tests at the end of the summer holidays than they had on the same tests administered prior to the holidays.

      The thought of doing 'school work' over the holidays to offset the summer learning loss is likely to hold little appeal for many.  However, research has identified that providing a range of different experiences, and opportunities for young people to do 'new' things over the summer holidays, can go a long way to alleviating the summer learning loss. 

      Recreational reading plays a key role in maintaining literacy skills.  Parental encouragement of regular reading during the holidays is therefore important for your son.  The National Library of New Zealand 

      Parents or other family and whānau members are the most important people for helping to keep children reading over the holidays.  Children who read over the summer holidays can avoid losing the reading achievement they made during the school year.

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