By Vicki Little
Hopefully by now your teen has gotten their feet wet and are starting to settle into their new high school routine. And hopefully you are starting to get used to being the parent of a highschooler as well! When I started this article, I had a list like I usually do full of tips, but then I realized the best people to give you advice are moms that have been there and done that. So here are some pearls of wisdom for you straight from the heart of five brave and wonderful moms that have survived high school.
“These are the best years of their life. Let them be present in it. Don’t rush them through it or push them to take college and AP classes to get ahead. There is a time for high school and a time for college. Let them fail and let them succeed equally because that is real life. Don’t be there to rescue them from everything but be sure to support them and give them the tools to advocate for themselves. Be a sounding board and a great listener. In the end the relationship you will build with them as young adults is what you have left. Think about what you want that to look like when they have that cap and gown on.” -Barb L.
“That scared little kid acting tough on the first day is going to be that same scared little kid that stands there in his cap and gown 4 years later. In between that moments they will have made mistakes, had their hearts broken, experienced death of kids their age, drank or smoked too much at a party once or twice, won awards, gotten great grades and not so great ones, jumped up and down in excitement when college acceptance letters came in and cried endless tears when they were rejected for a sports team. It’s such a roller coaster. Just hang on and enjoy the ride.” -Barb L.
“Take a deep breath, cry those tears. You will have at least one year where you don’t like your kid. Accept it, you are NOT a bad parent. You need to learn to let go, more these 4 years than any years prior. Don’t suffocate them, don’t give them all the freedom in the world. Find a balance but remember that you need to let them go. Embarrass them, not too much but enough for them to remember you are still there. Your heart will break… this is the time when it breaks the most, but you find the greatest joy in the child you raised.” -Suzanne B.
“We will have 3 in high school this year and it’s such a different vibe than when our first entered high school. Poor kid. We were really pushy and freaked out that every decision or quiz score was going to have a monumental effect on her future. It doesn’t work that way, it turns out. We were so much more relaxed with our second and he had an awesome freshman year. He felt supported rather than pushed. He had more freedom to make academic decisions. We have a better perspective. That doesn’t mean we won’t screw up again. We will.” -Gretchen K.
“These four years will FLY by. Probably faster than any prior. You will be registering them for the freshman year, you will blink, and you will be sitting at their high school graduation. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Be there for them…and let them learn to use their wings.” -Marie F.
“Be the mom who drives your child and their friends around (at least some of the time). Great conversations and observations. Have plenty of cheap snacks & drinks on hand and be the house where friends can gather (see above). Let them know you will come get them if drinking has been involved, anytime, no questions asked (at that moment). Be the soft place to fall.”-Rajean B.
What advice would you give yourself if you had those high school years to do over again?
Vicki Little is a work-at-home mom with two young kids. A Colorado native, she is the Publisher and Editor of Macaroni Kid Aurora and Downtown Denver. When she isn’t writing or trying to keep up with her kids she can be found volunteering, reading, or enjoying a bottle of wine with friends.
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