Parents’ Guide to Navigating the High School Transition

By Cherilyn Ashley CCO Turoring Excellence Longmont, Loveland, Fort Collins June 23, 2019

In the book “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” it states, “One day middleschool will end and become high school and after that it just becomes life. Allthose things you think are important now won’t be anymore.” The transitionbetween middle school and high school in most cases affects parents more thanstudents. Tensions can arise between parents and children, as the new youngadults strive to become independent and responsible, while being plagued byhormones and peer pressure. Parents now must balance the tight rope betweenstaying active in their child’s day-to-day life, while giving them the spaceand the responsibility needed so they can independently achieve their goals.This is the last big journey parents entertain before their children ventureout of the home to college or working life. Here are a few helpful parentingtips for staying involved and igniting a healthy dose of independence in yourhigh school student.  

Learn the ins and outs of high school.   

Most high schools offer a freshman orientation program. Thisprogram allows freshmen a time to get acquainted with their new environment andexpectations. This is a great time for students to learn the essentials suchas: how to use your new locker, finding your classes, locating the bathrooms,getting caught up with your friends and getting a chance to explore the newenvironment without crowds. Academically, over the summer a soon to be highschool student should get a jump start on the new curriculum. Solicitinformation and comments from administrators, students and parents about yourfuture teachers. This will help your child know their teachers’ individualexpectations.  Last if your desire is to go to college keep focused oncollege requirements by meeting with your counselor on a regular basis.    

Celebrate a child’s independence.  

A child getting a driver’s license is a big deal. Watchingparents’ expressions as they leave the DMV (Driver Motor Vehicle) with theirnew licensed drivers can be very entertaining.  Some parents look scaredto death, some look confident, some look like the end of the world has come andothers look like it doesn’t matter at all. High School students will experience thrilling freedoms, will grow intoadulthood and will do most of this without their parents being present. Therefore, it is important to celebrate these independent moments in youryoung adults’ life before these moments just become part of the monotony oflife.      

Get involved in extracurricular activities.  

High School means that there are expanded chances for students toget involved in extracurricular activities. There are many forms ofextracurricular activities such as sports, clubs, governance, studentnewspaper, music, arts and drama.  These activities positively effectstudents with better grades and higher graduation rates. This is not to negatethe social aspect of these activities.   

Build in lead time 

An Olympic athlete would never take a three-month hiatus fromtraining and expect to perform at that same high level. Students need to beready to start the school year sharp.  This means students need to trainover the summer like they are running a marathon, by mastering previous yearconcepts, improving study habits and organizational skills, preparing forstandardized tests (SAT/ ACT) and being prepared for the rigors a new schoolyear will bring.  

 We’ve got your back.

Parents and students emotionally through the high school years,can feel like they are on a deserted island.  We’re serious, we’ve gotyour back.  You’re not alone.  You’ve got a whole team of teachers,counselors, parents, tutors and friends available to tap for parentingresources, support and transition tips you may not have thought of.  Don’t ever give up!  We won’tgive up on you!