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Transitioning from Middle School to High School for Parents

Transitioning from middle school to high school is not just for kids. Parents will be doing the transition right along with the kids. Knowing what to expect will go a long way in helping you cope with the differences you and your child will experience.

First of all there are academic differences. Now is when it all counts. Perhaps your child have been lucky enough to take some classes in middle school that have counted for high school credit. Even so, those classes were more than likely taught in the middle school with more support than they would normally receive in high school. Expectations are higher in high school. There is more work and it is more rigorous. Students have more responsibility to keep track of due dates. Parents need to let their kids have more independence in high school but they need to be ready to step in when support is needed.

Many students get off track their freshman year. Most will get back on track but for those that fail their freshman year, 80% will not graduate. Parents need to be watching and ready to get involved.

There is a lot more stress for high school freshmen than they have had in middle school. There is more homework and it is more difficult. There are more distractions like cell phones, computers, texting, Twitter and so forth. Yet homework and studying still need to be done. So now what?

When you see your child after school, what is the first thing you say to them? “Got any homework?” is usually one of the first things out of our mouths. For some kids that is about the last thing they want to hear. To avoid asking that question, set some rules and expectations about doing homework. Set a specific time to have it started or finished. Students should be expected to get their homework done without nagging and if they know when it need to be done, that will go a long way in reducing the stress. It may take some follow up at first but eventually the kids will get used to the expectations. We still need to be parents but give the kids some independence and then some support when they need it.

There are many more changes that will happen in high school that will put more options in front of you child. They will see others making decisions on dating, alcohol and drugs. They need to make decisions on how these things will affect them. They will become involved with new friends transitioning from other middle schools and those friends will have an influence on them. The kind of friend and the amount of influence they have will make a big difference in their high school life.

Transitioning to high school has its challenges. They will have the support of many people around them which will make it easier. Knowing what some of these challenges are will help parents support their student and make their high school years a success.

Roger Chamberlain
Roger Chamberlain works for a university helping low income and under represented high school students prepare for and be successful in college.
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