The transition from middle school to high school is the first major stressor of adolescence. Middle school alone is already a difficult change from childhood, and high school can be even more complicated. However, it can also be a fresh start.
Part of a successful transition is finding smaller friend groups. Extracurricular activities are a great way to develop a positive peer group: sports, music, art, dance, science clubs, math clubs, language clubs and more are all great options. Joining them may take parental guidance in discovering them and helping their teen engage. This is also an opportunity to teach/coach the two most important life lessons high school has to offer:
- Personal responsibility for your choices.
- How to synthesize information.
Parents play a major role in teaching and reinforcing these two critical skills.
There are many challenges that occur in this period. Teens often encounter situations where they need to make difficult or life-changing choices. Helping your child learn how to make those choices can make a huge difference.Telling children what to do outright works for a few years, but teens see their parents as influencers for their own real-time decisions.
Knowing how to make those decisions is not innate. It takes teaching, coaching, and practice. This is something teens get from their families, and the teen years are a critical time for an open and positive relationship.
If teens are not navigating this period well, parents will see increased anxiety, depression, school avoidance, withdrawal at home, a drop in grades, substance use, or emotional outbursts at home.
If you have tried different approaches and still have a stressful relationship with your teen, consider making an appointment. We can determine if the situation might benefit from parent coaching, family therapy, or individual work with your teen. A conversation is often the best way to discern what path to take.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment.