5 Tips For Sending Your Child to High School

It seems just like yesterday when I was compiling a list of “how to prepare you child for middle school.” And, as all moms know, time just goes way too fast. If you are a first timer – like me – on sending your first born to high school, you know that fleeting feeling all too well. That whole “18 summers” bit is feeling close to home and making the already existing mom anxiety feel extra intense. We know life goes quickly, and pretty soon, we are snapping photos of those sweet babies in their caps and gowns.

But, I am going to put aside the mom feels and put on my educator hat for this one. If you’re new to sending a child to high school, I want to offer the other side of things. The perspective from someone who has been the main contact for nervous moms. Let’s chat on how to prepare your child for high school.

Mom and teenage son

How to Send Your Child to High School

Take a Breath

Inhale and exhale, especially all the thoughts that this journey will be a sticky one. You’ve made it through middle school, and you let them take the reigns on responsibility. This tip is the same for high school. Continue to trust them and support them. They know you’re there when they need the chats; you know to tell them to take care of themselves. My counseling advice is to let them take the lead. You will know when intervening is necessary.

Seek Support

While you may need a therapy session or two when it comes to parenting teenagers, you should always have a team to consult. Friends who are educators. Friends who have been through this time already. As a school counselor, I recommend staying off the Facebook groups with the “experts.” Sure, call the school and reach out when needed. Calling every day isn’t the best practice, but establishing a relationship with a counselor is also a great idea. Let them know you’re there and ready to work to best help your child.

bottom of legs and shoes of two kids

Don’t Play Games

The GPA one. The helicopter mom one. The constant caller/emailer one. It goes back to taking those deep breaths. Your child isn’t the same as the one who takes all the honors or AP classes because so and so said so. Your child is his or her own person. Talk with them about plans. Again, encourage them to advocate for themselves. Being “in the know” for all things just isn’t feasible, and it doesn’t teach your child to discover who they are.

Evaluate Failure

Maybe they won’t make the team. Maybe they will fail their first big test. Maybe they get in a bit of trouble. All scary, right? It can feel as though you failed too. These times are for talking and learning. They are not times for calling all the coaches or teachers or school board members when your child falters. We have to let them grow, and failure is one of the best ways to do so.

Start a Portfolio

While it may seem early to do so, this tip is one I share often as a school counselor. Save awards, certificates, or any accolade. Encourage them to build a rapport with teachers and keep their names noted as ones who can write recommendation letters. Create a simple word document that includes hours of volunteering or small (and big) things they do around the community. You will be so happy to have these things in one place once the busyness of college prep begins.

I am teetering between complete anxiety and pure excitement that I am about to have a high schooler. Some of my favorite memories are from that time in my life where I discovered more about myself and failed more times than I can count. It’s now that time for our kids.

mom and high school age son

Veteran high school moms, what other advice can you share? No matter what our background is or our parenting style, we can all use the love and advice.

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Kim Reed
Kim R. was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana but is a Texan now! She graduated from Texas A&M University {Whoop!} in 1999 and moved back to Houston to start her high school teaching/school counseling career. That Houston move resulted in meeting a cute next door neighbor at her apartment complex who later became her husband. Kim and that cute neighbor moved to the Cypress in 2005 where they now raise Griffin {October 2008} and Emmy {August 2013}. Life has had some hardships, and Kim is open to sharing her story of enduring grief and encouraging moms to take care of their mental health. Her other passions include reading all the books, watching reruns of Friends, sweating it out at Orangetheory Fitness, and a good margarita. Kim also believes in working hard to make each day better than the one before. Read more on her blog – alwaysanewdayblog.com.


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