Entering high school can be overwhelming and intimidating for your teenager. Having that extra support from a parent can make all the difference in the world, and can put him/her on the path to success rather than entering a trail of insecurity regarding the unknown.
I never thought the day would come so soon when I would be putting my son in high school. He of course was very excited about it, it’s what he worked for; the end result. “Oh heavenly high school.” I could almost see those words coursing through his eyes. He was a big kid now, well…that’s what he thought, but leaving grammar school behind to go to the “Big” school was not as easy as one little 14 year old might think.
Last time I checked, I don’t believe I saw a manual to prepare you for what you need for high school. It’s not like showing up at the grammar school and looking at a list of names to see who your teacher was going to be for that year. Nope, it went much deeper. Kids at high school had several classes, subjects, and teachers to keep up with. Nobody was going to hold your hand. In high school you basically have to know your way around and think for yourself, which was a far cry from having parent-teacher conferences to help guide your child in the right direction and correct him/her if they strayed off track. Letting go of your child was like a momma lion abandoning her growing cub. “Fend for yourself! Use what you have learned and run with it.” Well, for me that is what it felt like. I knew that I had to step in, and give some advise.
High school is the beginning of your child’s future. Grammar school didn’t have nothing on this, and to me it didn’t count. Yes, it taught him how to read, write, do mathematics. It even gave him some social skills. (So glad he skipped on some of the social skill lessons that were being taught by kids) but that is a different story. He received the basics, but in the eyes of colleges and careers, grammar school really didn’t matter. It’s what you did after that counts. I’m sure in his eyes I have become the most pesky mother hen around; always reminding him of the importance of studying, getting good grades, and knowing what he wants to do in the future. High school is much different now then when I went. There are more options, pathways, help with scholarships, etc. etc. You name it, and it’s available. You just have to know it’s there and utilize every bit of it. Make an appointment with his/her counselor to discuss options and make sure your son and daughter are aware that these people exist and are there to help them through their journey.
There is also more to high school then just studying. It’s important that you encourage your son/daughter to find something that interests them such as sports, or a special club. Keeping them engaged in their high school world and away from the negative impacts of peer pressure can seriously curb their decision to what road they will travel. It’s a parent’s responsibility to show support and be involved with their child’s events. I know that some parents work a lot of hours, myself included, but at least make an effort to be there. It can make all the difference in the world to them.
There are also several milestones in high school such as their first prom, their first kiss, their first car (maybe). These events in their life can be life altering, and mold them into the adults they become. Embrace this special time with your child. Try to remember what it was like for you during high school. Do you have fond memories or would you have rather skipped the whole four years? It’s up to us as parents to help make it the best experience of their lives.
Keep in mind, that you will have some hurdles to jump over. It’s not always going to be rainbows and butterflies. There will be times that your child tests the boundaries of the parent/child relationship, like going to parties, maybe drinking, or engaging in not so appropriate behavior. Keep that conversation line open with your child. Let them know that you have been through what they are going through (Even though they probably won’t believe you), but let them know that you are there for them, and by being honest with you from the beginning will make situations a lot easier than not. Easier for them I mean.
In the long run, if you can remain supportive, understanding, and strong, your child just might make it through high school in one piece, and maybe you will too.