As another school year comes to an end, I think of the Vitamin C “Graduation” song and am instantly brought back to my senior year. Although I don’t have a graduating senior this year, I do have an 8th grader who will be transitioning to high school, and I’m kind of freaking out.
I remember when I was leaving middle school and going to high school. There was a lot of anxiety and excitement. I went to the high school building with my map and mapped out how to get to my classes. I also remember being so intimidated by the size of the school. But the thing I remember most is how excited my friends and I were to be growing up. If we had only known how hard being an adult would be.
My daughter will be 14 this year and entering 9th grade. She has already started the transition process by taking the PSATs and setting up her freshman year classes. But I can tell there is still some apprehension. High school is a pivotal time in our lives that helps mold us to be successful adults. I feel like you have to approach it in a positive way. I have been slowly introducing her to the idea of moving on to a new school. She’s already transitioned from elementary to middle school but moving to the high school just seems so much larger.
High school prepares you for the future. It is your last step before you choose whether to enter the workforce full-time or go onto college. It is when you get your driver’s license and become more independent. Many high schoolers enter the world of working and get a part-time job. Four years go by fast. How can we be sure that our children are prepared for this change?
I’ve done some research on how to cross the bridge to high school, and I can tell you the best thing to do is to take it day-by-day. Throwing our children to the wolves and not preparing them is doing a disservice to them and society, so we have to prepare ourselves in advance so we can help them. They will not be ready to transition if we are not ready to help.
Our children are going to need a support system more than ever. I am guilty of treating my daughter like she is still a little girl. I haven’t quite mastered the art of letting go just yet. I am still working on becoming less helicopter-y. I have a lot to learn about becoming a mom to a high schooler. But I have a feeling we will be learning to navigate these waters together.
The middle school has taught Cadence a lot of life lessons. She has discovered herself and her worth, and she has made some new lifelong friends. I’d like to hope the last three years have prepared her to leap into freshman year. But you really don’t know if you’re prepared until the time comes. So the best tip I can give you is to talk to your child. Explain to them the differences between middle school and high school, and then listen to them. Listen to their fears and worries, and help them to maneuver through everything with ease and grace.
And remember, you are not alone in this and everything will be alright.
Steph Hightree is a hot mess mom who is fueled by stress and too much caffeine. She is a Three Rivers native who talks about the good, the bad, and well, everything else about parenthood.
Any views or opinions expressed in “#MomLife” are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Watershed Voice staff or its board of directors.