High School is a spooky time for our kids and it can be a trying experience for us parents as well. Our babies are headed off to that big, scary school and going to be mingling with a bunch of…well…basically, young adults. The new factor aside, high school is full of changes and challenges for our kids. It can seem overwhelming at times because we want them to succeed!
Wouldn’t it be awesome if you knew what to expect? If you had some type of road map for all these new things that are headed your way, we might have a better shot at dealing with some of them. I wanted to help by giving you some tips based on my experiences. I have one high schooler who is in her senior year and has already started college through the running start program. My other one is just starting his first year of high school.
Here are some of the more common challenges and changes you can expect as a parent when your kids begin high school:
Challenges Fitting In
There is a reason freshmen are called fresh meat, and that is because they get picked on so frequently. They also want to fit in, and can get into trouble if mom or dad is not paying attention. Every parent will at some point have their kid come home feeling like a “nobody” because they are suddenly being thrust into a tough situation. When your teen goes from being on top in middle school to bottom in high school, there will be challenges. The best way to handle it is to be a shoulder to cry on.
Much Tougher Sports Competition
This goes for every aspect of school and it can be a shock to the system of even the best athletes and students. Your kid may have been all world in middle school football, but he will be facing much stiffer competition in high school. Not all sports in high school are make you try out but there are many that do. Your kid may not get in or may not make the position she wants. The level of athletics is so much harder that it sometimes makes students feel inadequate. Parents can help ease the stress by using encouraging words, making it to their games, and making sure that they have enough health food in the house.
A Major Shift In How They View You
Mom and Dad may have been hanging on to their “cool factor” by a thread in middle school but once high school comes around, that thread will be severed for sure. Suddenly you will find yourself having to constantly say no. You will find yourself begging them to speak to you. Take heart, however. You will eventually notice them swinging back your way towards the end of high school. (Just in time for losing them to college I might add)
Much Tougher School Academics
The expectations for high school students virtually soars in comparison to middle school and kids are expected to handle their own business in high school. For freshmen, organizing their time is a common problem. It can be easy for them to feel overwhelmed and want to give up. Help them to create a pattern of good habits and they will find their way through.
Expect more expenses…much more
Once high school hits, everything pretty much doubles and triples where money is concerned. You have to pay more for yearbooks, class rings, clothes, school supplies, school fundraisers, school sporting equipment, games, clothes…..you get the idea. You can definitely save money buy shopping clearance for clothes but some things you won’t be able to save on.
Expect major emotional shifts
High school students are hit with so many new concepts and expectations, it would be impossible to expect them to stay perfectly sane all the time. Add to that the whole hormonal aspect of things and you can see how you might have your hands full. Teens are going to be a bit of a mess on occasion once they hit high school. Be ready and always be available.
Depression and Suicide
If you find that your high school student is having more trouble then what seems normal, definitely seek out the help of a school counselor. Middle and High school students have high rates of suicide, so its important to be on alert, and seek help immediately when depression is a concern.
Things to look out for include:
- extreme moodiness
- sleeping at abnormal times of the day
- not eating
- angry outbursts
- self-harm (cutting)
- withdrawal from friends
- bullying (as a victim or as the bully)
Beyond the Blues: A Workbook to Help Teens Overcome Depression (Teen Instant Help)Boy Meets Depression: Or Life Sucks and Then You LiveThe Disappearing Girl: Learning the Language of Teenage DepressionRescuing Your Teenager from DepressionWhen Nothing Matters Anymore: A Survival Guide for Depressed TeensDepression: A Teen’s Guide to Survive and ThriveTeen Depression: A Parent’s Guide for Recognizing the Signs of Teenage Depression and Helping Your Child Find Happiness Again ~ ( Help for Depression in Teens )
High school is full of changes, but with some careful support and guidance you can make it through. Be there for your kids and always make sure they understand that these changes are normal. If you make yourself available, allow them to grow a little at a time and take a ton of deep breaths along the way, you will find yourself coming out the other side with a high school graduate that is happy and well adjusted.
There are some great reading resources to help parents