The time has arrived my oldest child is headed off to high school next school season and it fills me with such amazing feelings. While I can’t believe my first child is turning 14 and venturing off towards another year closer to adulthood, I am extremely proud of all she has accomplished in her nearly 14 years of life. Heading into high school at honors level classes and watching as she dealt with the growing pains of middle school. As a Mom I am trying to assure her that high school is much different than middle school, she will be in with older kids and maybe find more peers that are at her level of maturity.
This child entered into Kindergarten a year early, at age 4. Back then she actually tested smart enough to go into first grade … at age 4! Her father and I knew pushing two years early into school wouldn’t have been a good move emotionally and socially, as she gets older and finds she is the youngest in her class, I am confident we made the right decision all those years ago. This transition of middle school to high school, listening to the changes in opinions and thoughts of my daughter as she gets older have been such an experience.
My daughter suffers from some anxiety, much like I do and have for many years. As an adult I mastered skills to overcome my anxiety and push myself on a regular to overcome that anxiety diagnosis I was given many moons ago. My daughter is still trying to figure out how to master anxiety and while she is such a strong girl, it can overcome her easily. This is the case with high school, so far it seems she has mixed feelings about high school, yet overall I can almost see her excited to venture into a new chapter of her life.
As a means to prepare for middle school to high school transition, I have created a few tips to help parents and students survive this transition:
- Encourage independent conflict resolution, in middle school you should have started to step back and assist in guiding your teen to resolve conflict. Middle school was a time when your teen could actually email the teacher directly, have after school meetings and such as a means to be proactive in their own education requirements.
- Discuss the pros of high school, such as more freedom to choose classes they are passionate about, the ability to move around the schedule and some extra privileges such as getting a job and learning how to volunteer in their local community. High school opens the doors to more trust and freedom from parents, which is appealing to many teenagers.
- Change how you are involved as a parent, I recall my daughter once saying to me, “it seems like because I am older than my brothers you don’t talk to me as much or ask me about my life as much. I still need you even though I am getting older!” Talk about a punch to the gut! This was a gentle reminder that no matter how old your child gets, they still need you at some level.
- Prepare your teen for the work load and independent study they will have to do in high school. During middle school the focus was about team building, lots of projects worked on with their peers, but in high school it’s a whole new ball game of independent work that will add up quickly. Establish a reasonable expectation level of grades with your teen now.
There are many ways you can work to prepare your teen for the transition from middle school to high school, my biggest tip for you is to give trust when life calls for it, establish a positive mindset about their transition and always find humor in life. I swear the fact that I can find humor in the most stressful of scenarios with my teen has helped solidify and build our bond deeper as she travels along this road of middle school into high school.
What are some tips you have for parents sending their kids off to high school?