How to Survive High School

Attending high school for the first time is a major event in any young teen’s life. Your little fish is about to jump into a very large, murky pond.

You can help your child prepare for high school by providing him with some basic survival skills.


All high schools have an orientation or open house for the incoming class. This allows you and your child to have a look at the layout of the school and get to know some of the teachers and counselors. Plan to attend this event, and let your child bring along a friend. We all find security in numbers when facing new situations.


Prior to beginning high school, ensure that you have accumulated all the necessary school supplies and clothing. Most schools will provide you a list of materials required in advance of the school year. Budget these purchases periodically throughout the entire summer to reduce one large expenditure.

Stay involved

High school is typically the time most children start to pull away from their parents. High school requires far less parent assistance and participation than the elementary schools do. While it is important to allow your teen to experience this necessary stage of development, parents should also try to stay involved to some degree. Work with your child to decide on curriculum choices and extra-curricular activities. Get to know your school officials and counselors as much as possible. Understanding the schools rules and regulations will help you guide your child through the process.

No pain, no gain

When your child enters high school, he is also taking a large step toward independence. This is a learning time, not only in academics, but also in life lessons. Conflicts and disappointments can and will happen in high school. While being aware of these situations is important, it is also critical to allow your child to face them and handle them on his own. Allow your child to assume full responsibility for meeting assignment deadlines and other requirements on his own. Likewise, he should be accountable for meeting all school rules in a socially acceptable manner.

It is sometimes difficult for parents to see their children facing the regular trials and tribulations of the high school years. Try to pick your battles wisely so that your child does not miss this importance milestone. Be there as a shoulder to cry on or just a soft place for him to fall, but do not over-protect or overindulge him in this developmental stage.

Your little bundle of joy is a big boy now. He needs to learn responsibility, compassion, and adapt to social norms without your interference. If he misses a lesson assignment, for example, he alone should face the consequences of his actions. There is no learning lesson as vital as those learned in high school to ensure he is willing and able to take the next step in adulthood.