Whether your teen is going into high school for the first time, or going back for the senior year, it’s essential to have a talk with them about health and safety before the first day. Your teen needs to know how to keep themselves healthy and make smart decisions. Here’s what you need to know when talking to your kid about high school.
High school is full of new experiences
In elementary or middle school, your child was in an environment that’s relatively sheltered when compared to high school. In high school, your child will have much more freedom, but there will be much bigger academic responsibilities as well. They will also be exposed to new people and experiences that they aren’t used to, which can be overwhelming. It’s important to be sympathetic and available to talk as they’re going through these new experiences.
Peer pressure is a problem that requires discussion
Peer pressure is something that many teens come up against as they go into high school. As kids get older, there’s a higher chance that their friends will pressure them into doing drugs or drinking alcohol. Talk to your teenager about the health risks of these things, and prepare them for the fact that they might experience some peer pressure. Make it clear that you’re always available to help them and answer questions so that your child confides in you if any alarming situations arise.
Suggest strategies to help your child handle peer pressure
Give your child a few strategies they can use if they do encounter peer pressure while they are at school. This way, they’ll have an easy strategy to fall back on if something comes up, instead of having to navigate the situation entirely on their own. Here are some helpful strategies that your child can use to resist peer pressure.
- Before going to any event, have an excuse for leaving ready, just in case. For example, you could say your family is expecting you home, or you have homework to finish. An excuse like this will make it easier to leave a situation if you are starting to feel uncomfortable.
- If you’re scared to tell someone ‘no’ outright, tell them you’ll think about it. The deflection feels less abrasive to the other person, and can help you avoid an adverse reaction.
- Choose your friends carefully. Try to find out if friends share your values early in a relationship – this can help you avoid potentially problematic friendships before you get in too deep.
Every teen should know that they can come to you about the challenges they face in high school. Now is the perfect time to have this conversation, before the school year starts and they’re deeply involved in a busy schedule.