Published on September 20th, 2022
Transitioning into high school can feel like the beginning of a new life chapter for many students.
Starting this new academic chapter can come with both fear and excitement, and parents can play a pivotal role in supporting their children during this change.
Here, Paulette Chaffee, educator and children’s advocate, highlights things parents can do to help their teens transition into high school.
1. Make Sure That A Student Has A Place Dedicated To Studying
During such an important time, parents must help ensure that a teen has a dedicated place in the home for studying. Starting high school means more challenging subjects and an increase in workload.
Preparing a quiet and reliable study location with a teen can help them feel prepared for the first day of school and the upcoming year.
2. Maintain A Positive Attitude
During the summer, teens might start expressing their opinions about starting high school, whether positive, negative, or both.
Regardless of their outlook, parents should maintain a positive attitude about the student’s new academic venture.
For negative perspectives and high school blues, parents can teach teens the benefits of looking for the silver lining in every situation.
These moments create an excellent opportunity for parents to teach and instill confidence in teens, which will ultimately help them to succeed in high school and beyond.
3. Give A Listening Ear
The high school experience combined with the volatilities of the teenage years can be a recipe for a roller coaster of emotions.
Parents who practice giving their teen a listening ear and a safe place to validate their teen’s feelings will benefit their child the most.
Parents should understand how difficult the transition into high school can be for a teen and acknowledge that change can be hard.
Rather than nagging a teen to talk, parents should note any changes to their behavior that might indicate the teen is stressed.
Awareness can help parents understand how their child reacts to stress and if they use words or emotions more during those times.
4. Go To School Orientation Events
Parents can research and gather all information about a new high school and use that time to explore extracurricular opportunities that might align with their teen’s interests.
Parents should try their best to attend orientation events, back-to-school nights, and meetings with teachers.
Attending and partaking in PTA meetings is an excellent way for a parent to stay involved throughout the year.
Being involved in a teen’s high school and providing support by attending events also opens the door for parents to get to know teachers and school staff.
5. Understand Factors Of Stress
Change can trigger stress in multiple ways, which applies to the transition into high school. Factors that can cause a student anxiety during this time include adjusting to a new school structure, more classes, new peers, or a larger school facility.
These changes can induce fear, resulting in anxiety about academic or social pressures. However, teens might not voice such fears aloud to parents, so parents should be familiar with high school changes that can cause a student stress and how to best and proactively respond.
About Paulette Chaffee
Paulette Chaffee is a teacher, speech therapist, and attorney deeply involved in the Fullerton community.
As an educator and member of various non-profit boards, her focus has always been on providing children with the highest quality education.
Ms. Chaffee holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Redlands, a California Lifetime Teaching Credential, and is admitted to the California Bar.
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