The move from middle school to high school can be a significant change that involves a lot of adjustments for teenagers including meeting new people, attending different classes, getting used to new teachers, and most of all – going to different school. Change can be scary but no one says it has to be! Use these tips to start preparing your teenager this summer for the changes he or she will experience in high school next year.
1. Teach Accountability
Now that your teen is getting older, it’s time to teach them how to take care of themselves and be responsible. Transitioning into a more independent role can be tricky at first. Start with little tasks such as setting their own morning alarm, waking up on time, making their own lunch, creating a schedule, and completing chores. As a parent, you can teach them responsibility by encouraging your teen to manage these tasks. This also teaches teens that in order to be successful they have to put their own effort into tasks.
2. Let Natural Consequences Occur
No parent wants to see their teen fail or fall behind in school, but mistakes and failure help teens learn. If a parent repeatedly reminds a teen to do their homework, then he or she may become dependent on that reminder to be successful. If a teen does not complete homework, then the natural consequence is a bad grade. It’s likely that the teen will realize he or she needs to find a way to complete assignments in the future. As a parent, you can discuss your teen’s experience and create a plan for success together. Research shows that natural consequences are most effective for behavior change. Practice this over the summer by setting up chores and creating consequences for not completing responsibilities.
3. Self- care
Stress increases as teens start high school. In addition to other stressors teens experience such as friends and hormones, academics in high school become more rigorous and expectations on placed on students increase. Work with your teen on practicing daily self-care to release stress through exercise, relaxation, or quality time with friends or family. Learning to release stress before stress piles up is the best way to be prepared!
4. Practice Mindfulness
There are a lot of distractions throughout high school. Talk to your teen about keeping their focus on one thing at a time. Teens can practice mindfulness by focusing on one assignment at a time and letting go of anxiety and stress they feel about upcoming assignments. Encourage them to take each day a step at a time.
5. Encourage an Open-Mind
High school is full of new opportunities and teens have the world at their fingertips! Encourage your teen to explore different activities and people this summer to identify their interests, passions, and values. Clubs and sports can be a good outlet for self-care and a helpful way to make friends. As a parent, you can talk with your teen about their new experiences and help then talk through their likes and dislikes.
If your teenager needs someone to talk to please call the Summit Counseling Center to make an appointment with one of the licensed School-based Therapists located in Alpharetta, Centennial, Chattahoochee, Johns Creek, Milton, and Northview high school at 678-893-5300!