Being a parent is hard (but rewarding) work. And let’s face it, we wouldn’t change it for the world. But when your children start blossoming into teenagers, it can be difficult for them to adjust to a new school and make new friends. Here are some helpful ways to assist them in this transition without being too overbearing or strict.
Help them feel more adult
This is more about giving them that feeling of being a confident adult who is in charge of their own life (despite you knowing better!). Teenagers always feel like they’re adults who know everything, so find ways of giving them small moments of independence.
Try dropping them off a few blocks from the school gates when they walk into a new school. Consider a small but kind gift that shows them you see them as more adult. Shop around with your daughter for a new outfit before her first day, or find a trendy pair of mens sunglasses online and surprise your son with them.
Encourage them to join some after-school clubs
Most schools have a club for just about any hobby or interest. Creative writing and art clubs, chess clubs, sports teams, and even debate clubs are all popular modern-day school activities.
Here’s where you can really channel all of that support and encouragement for your teen. It’s a great place for them to learn new skills and form better relationships with their peers, so the more positive you are about joining these clubs, the better!
Talk to other parents
If you can form good friendships with other parents with teens at a new school, it may help to form a natural relationship between the kids as well. Failing that, it’s always a good idea to ask for advice from some of the friendlier parents, or discuss your concerns with the teachers.
It’s best to be subtle with these conversations when your teens are nearby. No one wants to hear their parents talk about their lack of friends to other adults and may only serve to push them further away into isolation.
Give them space
Sometimes we all need a little time to be alone. A teen in a new school is under a lot of stress and pressure to blend in and form new friendships. Chances are they’re attracting a lot of attention as the ‘new kid’, which isn’t always easy. If they say they need time alone, try to respect that and give them what they’ve asked for.
Try to avoid being critical
It’s difficult to offer advice and ideas to teenagers without sounding critical. They’re in a difficult stage of their lives, and extremely sensitive. That’s why it’s vital to try and listen when they express their feelings and not make the conversation a one-way street.
Sometimes, the best thing we can do as parents is to trust that we’ve raised teenagers capable of walking their own paths. And while it may be difficult not to try and help them, making friends at a new school is a formative experience that’s utterly unique to them.
Stay kind, stay open to listening, and stay sensitive to their situation, and in time things will surely improve for them.