With the new year comes the new school term! For kids who completed PSLE last year, a new school year also means a new environment for them as they head into secondary school.

Excitement, apprehension or even fear of heading to a new school can plague our growing teens. How should parents support this transition? Fellow FFL Council Member, Kelvin, shares his experience with us on how he was able to motivate his children to overcome these challenges.

Coping with the Transition

Feelings of apprehension and doubt is inevitable while venturing into a new environment, highlighting the importance for parents to nurture an environment that promotes open communication with their child.

“Having your child paint a picture of what they can expect in a few years and visiting secondary schools’ open houses are practical ways of helping them to obtain a glimpse of what the secondary school life is like.” Kelvin suggested.

By sharing your own personal secondary school experiences and asking how their day in school has been can build rapport and strengthen parent-child relationships.

Choosing to Focus on the Right areas

With a new stage in life comes new independence. As this new-found independence may lead to complacency, setting boundaries and providing adequate guidance helps your child define their own values and character.

It is important to reassure your child that you would always be there as a listening ear and a shoulder to lean on when things go south due to problems such as peer pressure.

As they are exposed to greater challenges, failure and disappointment might become a common occurrence. Parents must help their child manage these emotions and frame mindsets to perceive setbacks as part and parcel of growth. The key is to stay resilient and motivated.

Managing Expectations

It is certainly normal for parents to want the best for their child. However, it becomes overly detrimental when we pin too much pressure on them, be it intentional or not. Reframing our mindsets and learning to empathize helps boost self-esteem in children.

Kelvin also recommends that setting achievable goals and milestones according to their abilities, would give them more confidence to persevere through challenging periods.

Building a Supportive Family

With the increased workload and Co-Curricular Activity (CCA) commitments, your child may find themselves with less time for rest and this might take a physical and mental toll on them. A supportive family environment will help to prevent your child from cracking under pressure.

Kelvin shared that his family makes an effort to head outdoors every weekend, as it provides more opportunities for the children to communicate the difficulties they face in a light-hearted environment.

There are certainly more ways than one that parents can support their child during this testing period. With that being said, the key takeaway would be for parents to be present for their child no matter what!