As if the teenage years weren’t bad enough, kids are faced with the daunting challenge of leaving an environment they know well and getting tossed into the big, scary world that is High School.
When children have spent years at the same grade school, they become the biggest fish in a little pond. That’s a very comfortable and confident place to be! So taking these young teens and tossing them into the uncharted waters of a huge population where they become the small fry can be a real crush to fragile egos and self-esteem. How can we help make this transition smoother?
It can be hard to think that these deep-voiced, towering boys and lanky, blossoming girls are still children who need our support, but in some ways they need it more than ever. Make sure your teen knows you are in his or her corner. Don’t lecture. Listen! Have open talks about the academic and social situations they could encounter and discuss solutions. Remind them you are there for help: to answer questions, to applaud achievements, to dry tears, and to still love them unconditionally. This can be a fearful or apprehensive time; having a supportive family is a great comfort.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that, generally, high school teachers are not as personally invested in your child as elementary teachers may have been. It’s a numbers game – when literally hundreds of students are vying for attention, one teacher isn’t able to remember their names easily. Students should be prepared for a relationship that is based more on work and results than camaraderie. Let your child know it’s not personal, but teens should do what they can to engage with their teachers so they aren’t another anonymous face in the crowd. (Useful when it’s time to ask for extra help or other considerations.)
More than anybody else, friends can make the transition into high school the easiest for your child. If your teen doesn’t have many at his new school, show him some ways to make new ones! After all, many “minor niners” are in the same boat. Keep tabs on your teen’s friends; they will have the most influence over your child for the next few years. Invite them over, get to know their interests. Good friends give teens a sense of belonging, confidence, and happiness. Make sure your child has great ones.
Is your child going to high school? What did you do to ease the transition?
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About Jo-Anne Craine
Jo-Anne is a parent of two and a freelance writer and editor at Type A Creative, which delivers premium editorial services to local and international clientele on a spectrum of projects from article writing and blogging to copy editing and comprehensive manuscript editing in many genres. She writes for Metroland Media’s community section at Save.ca and has been published in YummyMummyClub.ca and Wedding Essentials magazine, among others. You can follow her on Twitter: @TypeACreative1 and Facebook or at www.typeacreative.ca.