A wise person recently told me that “our very own high school experiences will affect how our kids are feeling about starting high school… and that we should try and allow them to have their own experiences”. These words really hit home with me; I had never really thought much about this before. But it makes total sense.
So I fade away in thought, reminiscing about how I felt the summer before starting high school, and I remember being so excited. I literally bounced around my house with nervous energy… you see, I went to a very, VERY small elementary school with only one class per grade. I had known the same kids my whole life and now I was going to be entering a big new world of possibilities and friendships. I was beyond ready to spread my wings and fly.
How do young teens feel about starting high school? Hear one student’s thoughts…
“Going into high school is something everyone gets slightly nervous about, but at the same time, excited too.
I am nervous about the whole social aspect of it as well as the academic aspect. Socially, I would say I’m nervous about meeting new people on the first day of school and making new friends. It’s really about who you’ll end up being friends with – deciding whether you just stick with the people who you went to school with before or reaching out to meet other grade 9 students coming from other schools – everyone’s scared about who their friends will be. Academically, I feel prepared. I know there will be challenges ahead with homework, big projects and writing exams for the first time. I am continuing in the French Immersion Program and know that it could be more difficult but I really don’t feel as nervous academically as I do socially.
What I am excited about is increasing my independence and going to a new big school with many more activities and opportunities – wow is there ever lots to get involved in!
All summer I have wavered between scared and excited so I can’t wait to see how I really feel on the first day. Wow, only one week left!”
As I read & think about the words above, I pause… “our feelings haven’t changed much at all in the last 25 years”. High school is still a very important social stage in a teens life. They are looking for more independence and to be accepted.
However, this being said, don’t forget as a parent/caregiver, YOU and not their friends are still the most important person in your teen’s life, even if they don’t openly admit it. Guide them. Help them be resilient and really listen without trying to fix all their problems.
Also, check out our blog on how you can help your teen with starting high school. Share your thoughts and tips with us.
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A recent study by researchers from the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and the Yale Child Study Center found the majority of students reported that their feelings related to school were negative. High school is not only an important social stage but also a very stressful time. There were positive things in my experience, of course, but I am glad that this stage is over.