Dr Michael Carr-Gregg, an adolescent psychologist and one of Australia’s leading authorities on teenage behaviour said that:
‘The jump between primary and secondary school marks one of the biggest transitions in a student’s life. It’s the point at which a child leaves the relatively safe cocoon of childhood and enters the wide world of adolescence. For both parents and their children, it can be a huge shock, as they encounter a minefield of serious issues to deal with.’
Fear of transitioning to from primary to secondary school is a normal emotion to experience. However, there are strategies that parents and boys can look at to help prepare for this change.
BE POSITIVE ABOUT THE CHANGE
Despite our best intentions we can at times make these transitioning events frightening for our kids. We say things like, “You’ll need to work harder than that in Year 7” or “They won’t put up with that in Year 7”. Students need to be reminded that Year 7 is the next step in the natural progression in their educational journey. There isn’t a sudden, unreasonable jump in expectations, academically or socially. In fact, to some degree, the beginning of Year 7 is a bit of a recap from Year 6.
TEACH THEM TO BE ORGANISED
Having their own locker can be a challenge for some boys in Year 7. It can be a place where things are organised or not so organised. Boys in the past have enjoyed the independence that a locker gives them and the locker needs to be set up to suit your son’s style of organisation. Compartments, folders and shelving can assist in keeping books for different subjects separated and easy to find. Becoming organised and comfortable with the locker, incorporating its use into day to day life, having the right equipment and knowing where they’re meant to be will be a challenge for some students. To help your son improve his organisational skills, ensure your son starts packing his own bags for school and activities. Also look at having a weekly scheduler in the room to further assist with knowing what events are happening and when they are on and what items he needs to take to school that day. Having organisation skills and processes in place will ensure the transition to Year 7 is less confronting.
TALK ABOUT FRIENDS
Boys need to know that they will find their ‘tribe’ and connections at school. It is important to help the boys know that they will find their way and that every boy does this differently. Remember though that friendships are based on being authentic and genuine. Don’t try to be something you’re not.
Graduating to the Middle School could be viewed as a daunting or exciting journey. Gauging student concerns with moving to the middle school next year I cannot tell if they are afraid of the unknown or afraid of losing the comfort of what they now know. Encourage your sons to talk about the change in routine or any insecurities they might be experiencing. Fear, frustration, grief, loss and loneliness are natural emotions that they might experience. Acknowledge and accept them, reassure them that those feelings will pass. The good thing about change is that it also brings the possibility of growth and excitement and joy.
For some wonderful resources on this topic please check in to our School TV links below.
Remember that change is inevitable and plays a key role in the development and growth of young men.
If you wish to discuss any points in our blog, don’t hesitate to email us.
Michael Stewart and Erin Moffat