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How can my 9th grader transition to a new high school?
Posted on: 12/29/2008
I moved to another school district with my 15 year-old-daughter. She is having a very, hard time with the transition. The new school is much larger than the country school she had come from. She is in 9th grade, pretty, mature, athletic and well rounded.
She says the kids try to fight her everyday. I have met with the guidance counselor as well as her teachers because she has missed quite a bit of school and is now failing 9th grade. Not sure what to do. I am so depressed.
Changes are hard for parent and teens during these kinds of transitions. Not knowing any other factors involved, I would suggest a couple of things:
1) Offer expansion of social opportunities of any sort (e.g.
extracurricular activities she may like such as dance class, music, teen group, church youth group, YWCA/YMCA).
2) Have somebody over from school or one of her old friends(maintaining contact with familiar peers).
3)Counseling, which allows her to share her thoughts, feelings, frustrations with someone. She may or may not warm to this idea, but referral sources can come from school counselor, local family service agencies, an employer's EAP program or your insurance company.
A counselor trained in psychotherapy with adolescents and their families will be familiar with the issues involved.
4) And most of all, do look long-term with hope. Talk hopefully with her about this being a bump in the road and not a sign of things to come. Transitions are hard and one has to be patient -- it will turn around.
5) Finally, it can help turn things around quickly if you are able to get a bit of tutoring to jump-start things. If for no other reason, it helps her to have someone other than a parent supporting organization, study habits, accountability and follow-through (even if the tutor isn't there to re-teach material, she may pretty well understand). A tutor sitting with her can help assess what the problems are too (e.g. she does the work but hasn't turned it in, studied for a test but studied wrong material, isn't doing the work at all, emotional barriers, etc.). Tutoring on campus will probably be rejected by her as most kids are self-conscious of being seen needing tutorial help, but if finances prohibit suggestions above, you might creatively put something together by talking with the school counselor.
6)Ask your daughter what she thinks might help her, rather than just telling her and trying to second-guess it all. If she misses things about your old place and her old life ask her how you both might build some of that back in now.
7) And take care of yourself too. Get external support and enjoy your daughter -- find times to put these cares aside and enjoy the rest of life together (in her time -- it may take some time).