A few weeks ago, on our last summer afternoon, my girls and I escaped the heat by heading to our local movie theatre. As we stood waiting in line at the snack counter, my soon to be freshman took hold of her younger sister’s wheelchair, took the movie tickets from my hand, and called over her shoulder “ I got Zoe, Mom, we’ll go grab our seats”
Zoe smiled and waved while I stood stunned, watching my oldest daughter making her way to the theatre, pushing Zoe, weaving through the crowds with confidence. Once she reached our theatre, I could imagine her carefully helping Zoe out of her wheelchair and into her seat. I knew Zoe was thrilled, and I was too-This was my girl, doing what she was supposed to do-growing up and letting me know that she is ready for more.
We spent a lot of time together, sharing this summer of anticipation-that would be forever marked by her transition into high school . These are just some of the things she taught me.
1. I want you to expect more from me, and then remind me I can do it. High school teachers already know this truth, and that is why they come on so strong the first week of school, so parents, be ready. Do our teens get overwhelmed? Sure, especially when everything is new and expectations are higher. Our teens are ready for more, but that doesn’t mean they have the confidence to match. Create opportunities to build confidence, pointing out small successes whenever possible.
2. I need to stay socially connected, so don’t take my phone away. Teens experience a huge social shift as they start high school. Some friendships fade with the transition to a new school, and new classes and clubs that can leave teens feeling vulnerable and disconnected until they settle in. In our home iPhones are placed on the kitchen charger at bedtime, and the rest of the time we all try to follow basic phone use etiquette. It’s tempting to take the phone away as a form of discipline, but that’s how she connects to her peers, and teens have a strong need for connection.