Kerry Lifeline

Transition from Primary to Secondary School What can parents do?

4688777136_d1244e990a_b The transition from primary to secondary school can be a difficult one for many children. The change from being the most senior student to suddenly becoming a junior again may bring many challenges for your child. They are leaving behind a familiar world and entering a whole new domain with new teachers, subjects, classrooms, class mates, an increased workload and a longer day. As this change also tends to coincide with the onset of puberty, is it any wonder that it can be so daunting for your child? This can also be a difficult time for parents. The school day is longer and your child will be taking on more subjects. Some of these subjects are ones you may not be familiar with which may mean you won’t be able to help out with homework. There are also more teachers involved in your child’s schooling. Your child’s social circle is widening and you may not know who their friends are.

As your child moves through this transition, your job as parent is to support them to negotiate the challenges posed. First and foremost it is important not to pass on your own fears to your child. Remember, children are extremely resilient and adaptable and before long these new surroundings will be familiar and comfortable for them. When talking to your child about the expected transition let them know that you have trust and confidence in their ability to master these changes. Tell them about your own experiences and ways that helped you to cope. Talk to them about the change in routine and the possible change of classroom and teacher every 40 minutes. To make this transition as smooth as possible, particularly in the early days, try to be as supportive and encouraging as possible. Ensure they eat well, sleep well and stay tuned for any signs of distress or difficulty. Listen to them when they relay stories from school and show an active interest in their friendships, the school, their teachers, their activities and their subjects.

As parents, we can often feel a little helpless – our role is to be supportive, interested and encouraging. Always keep the lines of communication open and if you have any concerns please contact the school.  No one knows your child better than you.

As your child moves through their teens remember they are involved in a major life change. Your job as a parent is to nurture their confidence and enable them to become well-adjusted and fully functioning adults.

If you are looking for inspiration with any aspect of parenting your teen, SouthWest Counselling Centre will run an 8 week course on Supporting Parents to Support their Teens – beginning Weds Sept 30th. Call 064 6636416 to book your place. 

Next week we will focus on what young people can do to help make this transition easier.

SouthWest Counselling Centre Killarney provides affordable professional counselling to children, adolescents adults and couples – both at its Killarney Centre (Lewis Road) and at Kenmare Family Centre. Kerry LifeLine provides FREE counselling and support to anyone feeling suicidal or bereaved through suicide. To make an appointment call 064 6636416.

SouthWest Counselling Centre is a not-for-profit organization. All funds raised through fundraising go directly to service provision.