The start of the school year is the perfect time to have a talk with your children about the upcoming year, your expectations, and any concerns they may have. This is especially true for kids going off to high school as the environment can be quite different. Adolescence is the period in a child’s life where they’re trying to figure out who they are and eventually, what they want to do with life.
It is often during this time that they push the limits and test your patience trying to fit in and identify with their peers. That’s why it is ideal for parents to have a talk with their teenagers in advance. Below are a few things you’ll really want to discuss.
The workload in high school is often a lot larger than in middle or elementary. This is particularly true for teenagers who are in advanced classes. They have a teacher for each subject as well as electives which will all require a certain course load from them. Discuss the importance of keeping up with school assignments, studying, and asking for assistance if necessary. Ask if they need any tools to help them stay on track like folders, calendars, or planners.
Fitting in is the name of the game in high school. Every child wants nothing more than to be liked by the majority. To do this, they may start testing waters they’re not familiar with. Talk with your teen about the importance of remembering right from wrong. Explain to them that doing things that are labeled as “cool” just to be liked won’t get them very far. Express that there’s nothing wrong with being independent or isolated from the bunch.
Drugs and Alcohol
As you’re probably aware it is around this age where teens start experimenting with drugs and alcohol. It’s so easy for them to partake in underage consumption of alcohol and drugs nowadays. While you can check their rooms and keep things from being too accessible in your own home, you won’t be with them everywhere. So, you need to communicate with your teen. Talk about the negative effects of abusing such substances, what happens to your body, and how hard it can be to stop. You need to inform them of how drug and alcohol abuse can potentially damage their future. Preventing them from getting too involved with alcohol and drugs whilst they’re young, can only benefit them later.
While smoking cigarettes is becoming less and less popular among teenagers a new trend has started – vaping. As vaping regulations point out, in some states it is illegal for teens under the age of 18 or 19 to purchase or use such products.
Social media is very popular among teenagers. It’s a platform where they can connect with their friends outside of the classroom. While allowing your teen to have a social media account may be ok, you have to educate them on how to use it and some of the risks. Be sure your teenager knows not to communicate with individuals they don’t know, not to provide personal information like a number or address online, never share photos that you don’t want to be shown around and to be mindful of what they post. You should also inform your teen about cyberbullying and why it isn’t appropriate to participate in and what to do if they become a victim.
Teenagers deal with a lot more than their parents ever did. The stress of trying to meet the demands in school, fit in with their peers, and discover who they truly are can be a lot. Many teens suffer from mental health problems like chronic stress, anxiety, or depression. Ensure that your teen is aware of this, how to pinpoint the symptoms and the importance of reaching out for help if they really need it.
These next four years will be filled with a lot of ups and downs as your teenager gets closer and closer to adulthood. While you can’t control every aspect of their lives or be present at all times, what you can do is make sure that they’re prepared. Before the school year starts, sit down and have a talk with your teen about the topics discussed above so that they can make informed decisions going forward.