Your teen just finished their first day of grade 9!

Does it ever feel like you’re talking to yourself when your trying to have a conversation with your teen??

“You finished your first day of grade 9! Tell me all about it.”

“Did you meet anyone new? Do you like your teachers? Did you sign up for any extracurricular activities? Did you find your classes? Did anyone offer you marijuana?” (OK!!! That was taking it too far…)

I will never forget the response to my “interrogation” when my son came home from his first day of grade 9: he just shrugged his shoulders and went to his room.

Now what?! I was so excited to hear all about that first day of high school. I realized that this line of questioning wasn’t going to work, but I also knew how important it was to stay connected to him even though he was now in high school.

Starting high school is a big transition that teens may be worried about, but let’s face it, parents have their own concerns too.

Since then I have sent two other teens off to high school and I have learned a lot about the importance of having a positive relationship and staying connected with your teen during these times of transition.

Parents, here are some tips to make the conversation easier;

  • Make the most of conversations you have. Your talks may not be focused about school to start; it may be about the latest movie or reality TV show.
  • Point them to someone you trust. If there are areas they are not comfortable discussing with you, point them in the direction of someone you both trust to answer those questions.
  • Talk about things you both enjoy. Sharing the humour of your day is a great way to get the conversation going.
  • Agree to some ground rules. Work out what is acceptable behaviour for those times when the conversation may be heated.
  • Make communication a two-way street. Become knowledgeable about topics and issues that are important to your teen.
  • Use the tools they use. If they are using texting instead of email, get them to add you as a contact.

Don’t forget to have fun! That may look different as they start high school but experimenting with what works and what they’re interested in will go a long way to supporting that positive relationship.

As an aside, when my second teen came home from his first day of high school I greeted him warmly and told him a funny story about my day. That got us talking and he began sharing some of his experiences from his first day of school. What a difference!

Share your experience:

For more tips and hints about your teen, or to share your experience, there are many ways you can talk to one of us directly:

  • Leave us a comment below – we’d love your feedback
  • Talk to us on Twitter: @haltonparents
  • Email us at
  • Call the HaltonParents line for parenting information or to speak directly to a Public Health Nurse (every Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) Simply dial 311 or 905-825-6000.

About this guest blogger:

Sue French is a Public Health Nurse with Halton Region. Her work is focused on the positive development of children and youth in schools and the community. Sue is a trained Developmental Assets facilitator who brings her passion for a strength-based approach to her health promotion work in the community. Sue has 3 young adults and has experienced the many joys of parenting during the teen years.

This entry was posted in Emotional Well-Being & Mental Health for Your Teen, Parenting, Parenting Your Teen, Teens, Transition to High School and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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