Often the greatest challenge for new high school parents is finding the right balance between staying active in their child’s day-to-day life, and still giving them the space to take on more responsibility. While it’s a tough line to walk, with children plagued by hormones and peer pressure, it can be done! Here are a few helpful parenting tips for staying involved and igniting a healthy dose of independence in your high student:
Help learn the ropes. Many high schools now offer freshman orientation programs that allow time for incoming freshmen to get acquainted. Visiting a new school and learning the essentials, like how to use their lockers and where certain classrooms are, can provide tremendous peace of mind. Make a day of it by offering to drive your child and his or her friends to orientation and follow it with dinner, giving them time to chat about their upcoming first day in a relaxed environment.
Celebrate independence. During this time, your children will be experiencing thrilling new freedoms and experiences. These milestones, while terrifying at times, are key in their development and will be in their memories forever. So try to enjoy and celebrate as many of them as you can.
Encourage involvement. High school means an expanded set of extracurricular activities. Participation in after-school activities such as theater, art club or sports promotes belonging and a sense of place and community.
Build in some lead time. Summer brain drain affects a lot of students. Make sure your student starts the school year sharp by taking advantage of the summer to get ahead, making sure skills and concepts from the previous year are fully mastered and working on improving study habits and organization skills.
Tame tech time. Technology is great in moderation, and now more than ever, you’re going to have to help your child strike that healthy balance between tech and other activities. Understand your child’s online world (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), talk regularly with your teens about use of the Internet and set a good example to help avoid a tech takeover.
Know you’ve got back-up. We’re serious. You’re not the only one rooting for your child to succeed. There is a whole circle of teachers, counselors, parents and friends available to tap for parenting resources, support and transition tips you may not have thought of.