How to Help Your Teen Adjust to a New High School. Although moving to a new city may seem like a disaster for a teenager, starting a new school can be a positive experience. However, that doesn’t mean your teen has won and won’t have a hard time adjusting.
Changing groups, adjusting to a new school schedule, and leaving old friends behind can be very difficult for teens. And it’s not just about societal expectations – a new school can also cause challenges academically and extracurriculars.
While some teens thrive on a fresh start, they immediately jump into activities and make friends, others don’t make it right away. Some of them may feel lost for a time, both academically and socially.
If you are moving to a new school system, use these strategies to help your teen adjust to a new school.
In High School, things change.
Classes are usually older and most children, at least in the beginning, are unknown. Teaching becomes much more abstract, which requires more participation and effort from the children themselves. But the environment is also different; the school building is bigger, with more classrooms, there are many teachers and in fact, each lesson is taught by a different teacher.
What can you do
Give him enough time so that he can confess any of his worries or concerns. The children feel very insecure in the first grade of High School. They feel uncomfortable with their anonymity in the school yard, in the classrooms, among so many unknown classmates. In 6th grade they were the oldest children, now in the 1st grade of high school they are the youngest.
Avoid pushing him and dramatizing his entry into the A Gymnasium, telling him that now that the games are over, he should get serious, or now he is just reading, etc. In this way his anxiety and insecurity increase, without achieving a substantial result.
Secure free time for his hobby, for play, for his friends, for his old acquaintances who are not with him in the new school. Encourage him and show your satisfaction for all he can do. Do not expect the child to suddenly start behaving, talking, and reacting like an adult, just because he went to High School.
Help Your Teen Adjust to a New High School
Keep a positive attitude
The adjustment period begins before your child sets foot in the new school. Your teen is likely to have a bleak outlook from the start, so the onus for talking about the new city and school falls on you.
Point out new opportunities that will be available, whether it’s a great drama program or the opportunity to take advanced-level science courses.
If you’re not excited about the move either, it’s okay to share that you have concerns. But make it clear that you are choosing to look on the bright side and show your teen that you are determined to make the best of the situation.
If you are confident that you can make it a new city or a new job, your teen will feel more confident in her ability to succeed in a new school.
Listen to your teen’s concerns
Before Help Your Teen Adjust to a New High School, Recognize that change can be difficult. Validate your teen’s feelings by saying that you know it will be difficult for him to drop out of school and his friends.
Avoid minimizing your teen’s distress by saying things like, “Oh, you.” you’ll make new friends right away so don’t worry about it, “or” It is not a big thing. He changed schools all the time.
Instead, say things like, “I know you love being in the band here and being in the band at your next school, it’s not the same, or,” I understand that you are concerned about being in touch with your friends.
Your teen may not put his feelings into words, but you may see some changes in his behavior that indicate he is stressed about the move. You may get angry, but that could be a cover for how you really feel. Keep asking questions about your biggest concerns.
Are you worried about the new teachers? Do you doubt your ability to make the basketball team? It could even be a small thing like using a locker for the first time, if your previous school didn’t have it.
Offer a balanced perspective by recognizing the challenges of moving, but also by recognizing that a new school can offer new and exciting opportunities.
Talk about your reasons for moving
Be honest and frank with your teen about why you are moving. If you are relocating for a better career opportunity, moving to be closer to your family, or you need to find a new home because you can’t afford to stay where you are, talk about it. Then you know how help Your Teen Adjust to a New High School.
Discuss the values that were included in your decision. Make sure your teen knows that you are not moving around just to make her life miserable and that you are not changing schools because you don’t care about her feelings.
Instead, explain that you do care about feelings, but that ultimately it is up to you to make the best decision for the family. And even if he doesn’t agree with the decision, you are going to have to move anyway.
Show your teen that you are confident that everyone in the family can adjust to their new circumstances and that with hard work and a good attitude, you can create a happy life in a new home or in a new city.
Learn about the new school in advance
Very often, anxiety comes from not knowing what to expect. If your teen can gain a clear understanding of what their new school will look like, they can have a more positive attitude when it comes to moving.
Do as much research as possible on the new school before your teen starts attending. Get your teen involved in finding out about the size of the school, the types of classes offered, and extracurricular opportunities. Most schools have websites that offer a great deal of information.
Talking to a counselor or coach ahead of time can also be helpful. If possible, arrange for your child to take a tour of the school as well.
If possible, help your child meet some students from the new school before his first day. Seeing a familiar face or two when he’s the “new kid” can go a long way toward settling in.
Foster a new beginning
If your teenager attended the same elementary and high school during his formative years, then his personality, activities, and the like are quite ingrained in the brains of his peers. After all, once you’ve been labeled a cheerleader or the guy who’s bad at math, it’s hard to break out of that rut when you’re surrounded by peers who watched you grow up.
Remind your child that in his new school, no one has any preconceived ideas about who he is. Therefore, if you want to change your activities, style, or any other facet of your being, you can do it now without any questions.
Explain that a new beginning can help you become an even better version of yourself. You can create positive change in your life and surround yourself with the kind of friends you want to have as you enter a new phase of your life.
Create a plan to make new friends
It can be difficult to make new friends in high school, especially if you move in the middle of the year. It can be especially difficult if your teen tends to be a bit shy.
Help your teen create a plan to meet new people and make friends. Joining a club or playing a sport can be a good way to socialize for your teen.
Talk to your teen about the types of extracurricular activities he is interested in joining. Then talk to the school about how to make that happen if the school year is already underway.
Help your teen stay in touch with old friends
Help Your Teen Adjust to a New High School without losing old friends. The digital age makes it easier than ever for your teen to stay in touch with old friends. If you are moving to the other side of the country, social media and cell phones will allow your teen to chat with friends regularly.
If your teen just switched schools in the same area, encourage her to invite old and new friends over and make your home a space that she can easily entertain. Talk about introducing her friends to each other and make it clear that she doesn’t have to choose between friends from her old school and friends from her new school.
Sometimes teens feel disloyal if they make new friends or worry that their old friends will forget about them if they don’t keep in constant contact.
Talk openly about your teen’s concerns and discuss strategies for maintaining a healthy social life.
Beware of academic problems
Listen to your teen’s concerns. If your child has academic issues, you have to help to resolve them. High school can be academically challenging, but when your teen changes schools midway through their academic career, there are many adjustments to make.
Perhaps Spanish II at this school is more like Spanish III at the previous school, and your child cannot keep up with the teacher. Or maybe your teen never learned algebra the way the new school teaches it. Even differences in scheduling (such as block versus traditional scheduling) can pose difficulties.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to your child’s teachers to ask how they are doing in class and how you can help facilitate academic adjustment.
See also, Teach these phrases to your child
Don’t let your teen use the move as an excuse
Your teen may be tempted to say that the move has caused his failing grades or misbehavior, but don’t let the transition be an excuse.
Life is full of transitions. Someday, your teen may need to adjust to a new job, a new home, a new boss, and living with a partner. Therefore, changing schools can be good practice for accepting change.
As a parent, let go of the guilt you have for uprooting your teenager. You wouldn’t have made the switch if it weren’t in your family’s best interest, and harboring guilt only keeps the family from moving forward.
Seek professional help if necessary
If your teen is having a hard time adjusting to a new high school, seek professional help. If your teen is not making friends or is beginning to struggle academically, he may be at higher risk for mental health problems or substance abuse problems.
Talk to your child’s pediatrician to request a referral to a therapist. Or, talk to the school counselor. The school can offer services that can help.
Share “Help Your Teen Adjust to a New High School” with others.