Parenting Tips on Starting High School: How to Help Your Teen Adjust

Starting high school is an important developmental milestone in every teen’s life. But while your teenager might feel excited about this period of change, it is very common for teens to have mixed emotions about starting high school. Your teen may feel scared about fitting in, worried about making new friends and anxious about the new academic demands they’ll be facing. However, providing your teen with support can help your teen adjust to high school and indeed excel.

Parenting Advice on Tips for High School
The following are some helpful parenting tips on helping your teen adjust to high school:

be sympathetic and open: realize that starting high school is a stressful event for most teens. Many teens feel overwhelmed about starting a new school and this can often lead in changes in behavior, including being more withdrawn, irritable and feeling fatigued. Provide time and space for your teen to adjust to the many changes high school brings with it; be patient if your child does not wish to talk right away about her experiences. This period of change can also be compounded by the fact that your child is undergoing or about to undergo puberty. However, soon your teen will open up and her behavior should return to normal. But if the following signs of stress do not subside after a few weeks, you should talk to your teen and possibly a school counselor or teacher:

  • irritability
  • short temper
  • moodiness
  • changes in behavior, including rebelling and silliness
  • headaches
  • stomach aches
  • fatigue

be supportive and accessible: being more responsible and making more of their own decisions comes part and parcel with being a teenager. However, while starting high school does signal a new stage of independence for your teen, remember that he still needs your guidance. Reassure your teen that you are there for him, but that you trust him to make his own decisions. Opening up can be hard for teens, so chatting while doing a fun activity together, such as going for a drive or shopping, can help promote communication between you and your teen.

be compassionate and loving: understand that this period of change in your child’s life brings with it a desire to fit in, which is often expressed by the desire to try new activities. Encourage your child’s decision to try out for the volleyball team, which can help build skills while maintaining your teen’s fitness and health, or her decision to join the school’s drama club, as this provides her with an outlet of self-expression. Extracurricular activities are also a great way for your teen to make new friends.

Establish boundaries and routines: While your teen may be loving the sense of newfound freedom that high school provides, establishing guidelines is essential during this period of transition and will help ensure your teen is successful during high school and in life. Sit down with your child and establish ground rules regarding factors such as homework, curfew and chores. Set rules that are fair for both of you. By working on this together, you will have peace of mind and your teen will gain confidence and know that you trust him.