Updated: Oct 19, 2021
I know kids. I’ve been working with children in elementary, middle, and high schools for years. And one thing I’ve seen time and again, unfortunately, is that a lot of teenagers struggle with the transition from middle school to high school. That’s why I will lay out a few facts parents should know to help their kids transition to high school. Here’s what you need to know:
Begin teaching independence early. Whether it’s waking themselves up for school in the morning – without your help – or completing their homework without needing you to remind them, your child should start becoming more independent as they get older. This way, they will be ready for the challenges that high school will offer.
Speaking of independence, allow your teenagers to develop their personalities. This is the time of life when you might notice new interests or personality traits crop up.
Lay off the pressure. Our culture places a lot of emphasis on kids needing to have everything figured out for their entire lives before they even know how to drive! Your child may not know what they want to be when they graduate, and that’s okay.
Learn to listen. When your child is talking, take the time to listen and use reflection instead of interrogating or challenging them. Make casual conversation when you are doing something fun (cooking, video games, cleaning the house). Here are some ideas for ways to navigate the conversation: tell me more...wow...sounds exciting...really?.....how did you handle that?....how would you feel if you were in that situation? If you ask, be okay with the answer. You are working on “openness in your relationship.”
If you have kids who’ve already gone through this transition, feel free to add your own experience in the comments. And if you need more advice on how to transition your child to high school, I recommend reading my other blog post on letting kids fail while the cost is low.