How to help your teen adjust to a new school
Help your teen adjust to a new school: Few years back, I changed my place of residence. I made this change for my daughter, as I wanted to provide her good school and place to live. My family and I were happy in the new place until my daughter started going to school.
I remember the day; it was her first day at school and when she came back from school, she was very upset and was crying.
When I asked the reason, she said “I don’t want to leave my previous school. I don’t like my new school at all’’.
While I empathized with her, the next day, I met her class teacher and requested her to help my daughter to adjust to a new place.
With time and few of the steps I have outlined below and help from her teacher, I was able to help my teen adjust to a new school and the issue got resolved.
Many of you can relate to this story of mine. Most parents could face such kind of issues when your child has to move to a new school, or a new environment.
Topics this Blog Can help you with
- 11 common Problems that your teen can face at school
- 15 Common signs to help you SPOT school problems in teens
- 6 ways to help teen adjust to new school and social circle
- 8 things parents can do to support teen adjust to new school
- An important Note to parents
11 common Problems that your teen can face at school
Here, we will discuss some common problems that teens can face at their schools.
Adjusting to new environment
Going to a new school is an exciting thing for teens but for some teens it can be difficult. They may take some time to adjust to a new school, with new beginnings, a new environment and new friends.
Some teens may also find difficulties with a new syllabus.
This problem is most common in teens whose parents continuously migrate from one place to another.
Read about anxiety in teenagers in our article How-To SPOT & DEAL with Teenage Anxiety Issues.
Bullying in school
These days bullying is common in many schools. Bullying is a horrible experience for teens.
Teens can face bullying from their own class mates or seniors at schools.
In bullying, there is hostile intent, repetition of distress and calling inappropriate names.
Bullying can cause stress, anxiety and depression in teens and prevent your teen from adjusting well to a new school.
Get more insights about bullying from our article How-To protect your kid from Bullying
Problematic relationship with classmates
Sometimes teens face difficulty with having good relationship with their classmates. As a result, teens can feel lonely in the new school environment.
Having problems in concentrating in class
Sometimes, teens become unable to concentrate on studies. Or they may find their homework difficult.
This problem is most common in teens who choose subjects that are not of their interest.
In teenage phase friendships become the most important thing for teens. Teens spend a lot of time with their friends.
Sometimes they fall prey to toxic friendships and that could cause a lot of conflict and stress in your teen.
Because of this reason, your teen could show disturbed behavior in studies and in school. This hinders them from adjusting to a new school.
Read about article about 5 Effective ways to deal with Peer Pressure to help your teen in managing these challenges.
Mismatch with school rules and values
In some cases, your teen may not engage with the school, school activities and school environment.
They do not identify with the school environment, rules and values.
They might appear disengaged and may not want to participate in extracurricular activities or any event in school.
Not getting along with teachers
This factor can also cause stress in teens. Lack of communication with the teacher or facing any kind of negative attitude from teachers cause stress in teens.
Exams can also cause stress in teens. As we know, these days teens face a lot of pressure with regard to grades and marks.
So, teens can get stressed because of exams. Especially, when they are in schools that pay very high importance to academics and not to the overall development.
Problems at home
Research shows that, teens who have problems at their homes can be distracted from their studies. This also puts extra pressure on teen if they have to adjust to a new school. This is because they will have to face a set of people who do not know anything about them or the issues they have at home.
They may face problem in concentrating and focusing at school activities too.
Teens with social anxiety can face problems at school, specially while shifting to a new school. Such teens may not be bad in studies but they may try to avoid going to school as they are anxious to socialize with people who are new to them.
Teens with social anxiety have problems like feeling embarrassed easily, being the center of attention or being judged.
Poor physical health
There is a great link between a child’s physical health and academic performance. Teens with any kind of chronic illness become unable to perform well in school.
In this case, parents should go for a proper medical checkup immediately.
15 Common signs to help you SPOT school problems in teens
Some teens may discuss their problem directly to their parents. But some teens try to hide. They may use lame excuses to divert attention from the real problem and pretend to be sick to avoid going to school.
If you are worried about your teens’ school problem, there are some clues or signs to watch out to SPOT school problems in teens.
Signs to watch out for
- Lame excuses: Teens with school problems often use lame excuses to avoid school.
- Falling sick often. Complaints of having aches and pains to avoid school.
- You may notice changes in their behavior, like they are not willing to do their homework.
- Your teen may not take part in any extracurricular activity in school.
- Has a negative outlook towards school and schooling. Or the education system.
- Become more antisocial; avoid gatherings and meetings with friends.
- Might show poor result in tests and exam.
- Does not want to talk about their school and studies. Your teen has very little or no positive experience to discuss with you on school.
- You may notice low self-confidence and low self-esteem in teens.
- You may notice Depression, stress and anxiety in teens who are facing bullying at school.
- Parents may notice disturbed eating and sleeping pattern in teens.
- Show a defeated attitude while getting ready and going to school.
- You start getting complaints from school authorities about your teen’s potential vs performance.
- A normally well-behaved child suddenly starts to act out or misbehaves in school.
- Your teen comes home looking all tired and exhausted from school. As if they have just finished a Himalayan task of going and coming from school.
Note: You need to be more concerned when these signs appear suddenly or drastically. Any signs of rapid behavior change should be probed further.
Read more about teens and teen related issues from this link -> Parenting Challenges faced while raising teenagers.
6 ways to help your teen adjust to a new school and social circle
This video is a conversation between a teen and an expert about problems adjusting to a new school…
It is a fact that moving to a new school is a challenge for a teenager. They will have to adjust to be able to cope up.
Even though it is difficult, you can help your teenager lessen the stress and anxiety that they have. Here are a few ways in which you can help your teenager adjust to their new school and social circle.
Explain to them the reason
Moving out is not an easy decision even for you as a parent. You are aware that there will be a lot of adjustment in social life and daily activities.
It will affect your teenager’s life because they will not be able to be with their usual social circle or friends anymore and this is a challenge for your teenager.
To start helping your teenager adjust, you must try to tell them the reasons you decided to move to another place. You must tell them the reason behind those decisions because they are also affected by it.
If you can explain it properly, your teenager can have a better understanding of it. The more they understand it the more likely they are to adjust.
Remember that it will take some time before your teenager can adjust, but explaining to them the reason why you need to move out is a great way to help them.
One of the most important skill parents should teach teens is the skill to face challenges. Read about ow to do this in our article How to Prepare your Teenager Face Challenges in Life.
Validate your teenagers feeling
Teenagers value their social circle. They treat their friends as a brother or sister especially if they have been friends for a long time. They are important for your teenager’s social development.
Moving to a new school will affect their connection with friends because they might not be able to meet their friends regularly like before.
Sometimes they will start missing their old friends and you cannot force your teen to forget about them because it will not help.
As a parent you must validate their feelings. Acknowledge that they are sad because they are away from someone important to them.
Validate their feeling by saying “I understand you’re worried about your friends.” Or say something like “I know that you’re sad about this” by doing so you are helping your teen realize that you value their feelings.
Avoid saying things that would ignore your teenager’s feelings like “it’s okay you can make new friends” or “It’s okay because there are still plenty of people.
Instead validate their feelings and make them feel that their feelings matter to you.
Set expectations & Give them reason to look forward
One thing that makes adjusting more difficult to a teenager is that they do not know what to expect.
This will add some stress and anxiety to your teenager which makes it even more harder for them to adjust. So, demystify that part for them.
So, to help your teenager adjust to the school and social circle, you must list down some expectation for your teenager.
Do some basic research about the school that you can share to your teenager. Search for something that is interesting or things that you might make your teenager excited about.
Try to be positive as much as you can so that your teenager will have some positive things to look forward to. This will help your teen soft their focus from adjusting to looking forward to the changes.
Encourage your teenager to join extracurricular activities
The best way to help your teenager is by encouraging them. Give them the encouragement that they can adjust to their new school and social circle.
Remind your teen that these changes can help him/her to develop and learn more skills.
Encourage your teenager by showing your support. Support them to join a club that they may be interested or join any extracurricular activities.
In this way, your teenager will be exposed to new people and this will help them adjust and create a new social circle.
It will be a lot easier for them if their social circle has the same interest as them.
While it will help your teen to expand their social circles. It will also help your teen to become smart. Read other ways to help your teen become smart from our article smart teen.
Let them be in touch with old friends
Given that your teenager needs to adjust to their new school and social circle, do not stop them from being in touch with old friends.
Let your teenager speak to their old friends.
With the use of technology and internet, your teenager can still be in touch with their old friends no matter how far they might be.
Let their old friends visit your teenager by inviting them over for dinner or for occasions such as birthdays. In this way, your teenager will not feel that he/she lost a friend. Because losing a friend is a big thing for a teenager.
If there is an opportunity, let your teenager visit their old friend together with their new friends. This will help your teen expand her/his social circle.
Letting your teenager maintain some connection with their old friends will surely help your teen adjust to a new school and social circle faster and better.
Invite their new friends to your home
If your teenager is able to create new friends and a new social circle do not hesitate to invite them to your home.
Tell your teenager that they can bring over their new friends for dinner or just tell them that their friends are always welcome home.
As a parent, this is also important for you because by meeting his/her new friends you can rest assured that your teenager is doing great in their new school.
You will be able to know if their friends are good friends for them.
Get to know your teen’s school authorities and teacher
Try to get to know your teen’s school authorities and teachers well.
Talk to them about your teen and your feedback, concerns, and expectations . This will help them understand your teen’s situation better and know a bit about your teenager from your perspective. Also, it will get them to have a mental connect with you.
This meeting will help you have open channels of communication with those who can influence your teen and their settling in process.
8 things parents can do to support teens adjust to new school and social circle
Be approachable and encourage them to talk about problems
Many teens try to hide their problems from parents. If you notice any signs of problems in your teen, try to discuss the issue.
Encourage them to talk to you. Offer your support and tell them “You are the most important person for me than anything else’’. In this way you can give courage to your teen to approach and talk to you.
Build their self-confidence and self esteem
Teens with a strong sense of self usually face less problems in their studies and school.
So, you should develop a strong sense of self in your teen to avoid problems. Encourage them to accept themselves as they are.
Work with them to help them build their self-confidence.
Read about self confidence in teenagers in our article How to develop self-confidence in your teenager
Friendly communication with teens
Open and friendly communication between teens and parents can resolve many issues.
Talk to them in a friendly way and try to get to know about their feelings regarding their friends, their school, and teachers.
Be an active listener and be present for them during conversations. Be clear in your communication and do not be judgmental.
Prevention from bullying
Bullying is a dangerous thing. It sucks the life out of your teen. So, be vigilant and try to stop bullying before it starts.
For this you can educate your teen about bullying and educate them on where they can get support.
For example, in many schools there are different groups and organizations to address bullying. In this way, your teen can already get information about the problem and its solution.
Develop good communication skills in teens
Teens with good communication skills are often with good relationships. Teach your teens how they can effectively communicate with their friends, teacher, or any authority of the school.
Good communication skills in teens can strengthen relationships, resolve the issue of few friends and troubled relations at school.
Guide your teens about friendship (the 4 C’s)
Bad/ Toxic friends can cause stress and anxiety in teens.
Bad friends can also destroy your child’s personality, so it is very important to guide teens about good and bad friends.
On the contrary, good friends provide good support network to teens.
Because of this, good friends are very important in teenage phase.
Read about the 4C’s of friendship in teenagers in our article How-to help your teen to choose right friends
Give the choice to your teen to choose subjects of their own interest
If you really want to see good results in studies of your teen, then you must give them the choice to choose subjects of their interest.
Teens often loose interest in studies if they must study certain subjects which are out of their interest, to graduate.
You can guide your teens about the choice of subject but try not to force them to choose a subject of your choice.
Handle resistance with tact
When your teen complains of not wanting to go to school, empathize with your teen. Hear them out. Find the root cause.
Do not fuel the flame with words like “I know your teacher appears very rude” if they complain about their teacher.
Be careful not to impose your personal bias on then. E.g. When your child complains about other kids you say something like “Yeah, rich kids are spoilt. etc.”
Try and paraphrase what they are saying by using empathetic words. E.g. When your teen says “I hate school” you can paraphrase their words and say. “I understand that it is hard for you… do you want to talk about it…”. Talk in a way that keeps the conversation flowing and not cut out.
An important Note to parents
Parents can face challenges with regard to teen’s studies, it is not an unusual condition at all. Many parents go through this.
The only thing you can do is to try to find out the stressor factor in your teen and then try to remove that factor in a proper way.
Give proper guidance and support to your teens in their studies.
There is a saying that goes like this, ‘Yes school is important. However, your mental health always comes first.’
Studies of your teen is very important. But always prioritise your teen’s overall well-being.
Like, if you notice any signs of bullying in your teen and you are unable to address the source of bullying, then you should change the school of your teen. You cannot compromise on your teen’s mental health in the process of helping your teen adjust to a new school.
Read all about mental health in teenagers in our article How to influence your teenager’s mental well-being
If there has been a change in school, remember, moving to a new school is a nerve-wracking experience for a teen.
Not only will it make a lot of adjustments to their habits but will also completely change their social circle. These adjustments are big for a teenager because they need to cope up with new school, new classmates, and new friends.
Although, they can still hang out with their old friends, the chance is too slim. So their only option is to adjust and adapt to their new school and social circle.
Moving to a new school as a teenager is scary and exciting because they most probably will not know anyone from that school.
They must start from the beginning: introducing themselves and start making friends. It can be exciting especially if, your teenager is looking forward to school or if it is the school where they want to study.
Adjustment is difficult. It takes time and effort before your teenager can adjust to their new school and social circle. They may feel anxious and scared because it is something new to them. it is not easy to adjust and adapt to new school and friends.
But learning to adapt will help your teenager be a better individual. It can help them develop their socialization skill.
It could also make your teenager independent and ready for the future. So, it is important to help your teen adjust to a new school and social circle.
At the end I would say, when you develop proper self-confidence and sense of self in your teen, they become more equipped to face challenges at their schools and studies and it will help your teen adjust to new school well.
Help your teenager to adjust. Give them enough time to accept these changes. Offer support and encouragement so that they know everything will be okay.
Moreover, if your child still faces any issue, then with proper guidance and support you can resolve the issue.
Extend your understanding as a parent and validate what they are feeling now. In this way you can come up with the right approaches to help them.
Soon you will have a teenager who is happy and looking forward to going to school.
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Let us know how you helped your teen adjust to a new school…Leave your comments below…
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