The transition from middle school to high school can be a tough one for both teens and parents. Changing schools, establishing a new routine, and learning new things are all a part of the process. Parenting skills are put to the test during this transition. With that being said, everybody needs some help sometimes. It can be tough to know what to say and when to say it. It can be difficult deciding whether you are caring too little or become overbearing. It can be a struggle maintaining vigilance by supporting in the background and not interfering in the individualism of your teen.
Tips to Keep in Mind
Here are some simple tips to keep in mind when your teen is about to start high school:
· They are going to be exposed to new ideas – This is a given and probably common sense. This is the time in their life when they start to become an individual and to formulate their own ideas about things.
· It’s not like it used to be – We tend to think of high school as something that is universal. Everyone does it. It is always the same. While that may be true for some things (social interaction) the topics themselves that are covered, the bureaucracy, the rules, and many other things are entirely different.
· Expect to not understand – You simply won’t understand the new phrases being used and the new technology. They generally won’t expect you to. Try to pick up what you can but don’t fret over the situation.
· Give parental advice anyway – It is important that you continue to provide guidance and advice to the teen regardless of whether you completely understand the issue. If someone says something mean to your child over Twitter or through some new messaging app, you don’t have to understand the app to empathize and help with the social aspect of the situation.
· Let them fly – While it is important to keep tabs in what they are doing, it is equally important to maintain the ability to let them make mistakes. The way that people grow as human beings is to make mistakes and to learn from them. It is a fine line between trying to protect your teen and allowing them to make some mistakes that will benefit them in the future.
· Gently steer – It is important to maintain a “light touch” when interfering with their way of doing things. Doing it in a strong way is likely going to result in resentment or anger on their part. If you want them to stop hanging out with a certain crowd, drop subtle hints or talk with them about it in a passive way. If you learn one thing during this time, it is going to be that when you say to do or not to do something directly, they will probably do the opposite.
Expanding your parenting skills by following some of these tips will improve your relationship with your teen and help to ease their transition into high school.