By Erica Rood, M.A. Ed.
Change is inevitable. It comes in many forms, some welcomed and some not. Summer is a welcomed change, but the jump from elementary school to middle school and middle school to high school can create a slew of mixed emotions. For many girls, the response to change is increased anxiety, fear, and stress. Even for more confident and optimistic girls, the transition from one level to the next raises questions and triggers doubts. If your daughter is about to make a transition next year, she is likely asking herself:
What can I expect? Will people like me? Will I fit in? Will I be accepted? Will I succeed?
How she answers these questions determines how she will approach the transition and consequently, how she will start the new school year. Moreover, it sets the a precedent for how she will handle other life changes, which makes it extremely important to foster a healthy outlook around change.
Offer reassurance. Ease her fears and doubts by reassuring her that she is prepared, likable, equipped, and capable. Remind her of other changes she’s handled with confidence and ease. Bring to light past obstacles she has overcome and goals she has achieved. Boost her sense of self by linking past accomplishments and actions to present strengths and qualities. Affirm that she has what it takes to be her best in any situation.
Give her specific tools and strategies. In middle school and high school, your daughter will encounter new people, new pressures, and new challenges. To help her feel equipped to make new friends, fit in, and handle new pressures and challenges, she may need specific support around what to say and how to respond. Coaching provides an ideal venue for learning responsible, healthy ways to think, act, and respond to new situations.
Broaden her perspective. Help her see that within change lies opportunity. As she expresses her thoughts, feelings, and beliefs around starting a new school, ask her open-ended questions that foster a broad perspective. Acknowledge the challenge associated with change and help her see all sides of a new situation. Share your excitement for all the positive experiences that await her.
Celebrate her accomplishments. Graduating from elementary school and middle school are milestones. Reflect on all she has learned and how she has grown, personally, socially, and academically. Celebrate her wins. Celebrate the transition.
While you can offer meaningful support at home, preteen and teen girls tend to pull away from their parents. They want to assert their independence and separateness, and often do so by rejecting, ignoring, or arguing with your well-meaning advice. You can ensure your daughter gets the support she needs through coaching. As her coach, I provide a voice of a parent without being the parent. Girls are often more open and willing to listen to insights when they come from someone outside their family. Coaching sessions provide an essential “time out” of the busy-ness of life where she can reflect, learn, and contemplate empowering ways to handle life’s various challenges and changes. Contact me to discover more about Summer Coaching and ensure your daughter is prepared to have a successful, happy, and confident school year.