How to Help Your Teen Survive Being the New Kid at School

lonely teenFew things are as nerve-wracking to a teen than being the new kid at school. While most people already have their friends and cliques in place, she will need to figure out just where she fits in. Just the thought of walking into a huge cafeteria with tray in hand and no idea where to sit is scary. But they don't have to figure it out alone. There are things parents can do to ease that transition. Check out how to help your teen happily adjust to life in a new school.


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  1. Don’t dress her. Unless your kid is a Goth Vampire, trust her fashion sense. You want her to feel comfortable, relaxed, and like herself.  
  2. Meet the neighbors. If there are other students on your block, invite their families over for a BBQ or dessert to break the ice and help your kid meet peers.
  3. Encourage her to join a team or club. Being a part of a team is a great way to make new friends and already shows them you have a common interest
  4. Volunteer. A lot of teens lend their time to good causes to beef up college applications (and out of the goodness of their hearts). This may be another good way to find a new friend.
  5. Tell her to avoid the mean girls. This doesn't just mean avoid being a target. Look for BFFs among a nicer group of girls. Mean girls have a habit of turning on each other and that can be even more brutal. 
  6. Let her be who she wants to be. Going to a new school is a great chance to reinvent yourself. Give her the freedom to do that.
  7. Don't embarrass her. As parents, sometimes we don't realize how mortifying our behavior is. Something that seems so innocent to us will make your kid want to die of shame. For example, don't use what you think is cool slang in front of her friends; don't yell reminders out the car window after drop-off; and don't share any embarrassing (but cute) personal details with her pals.

What other ways can parents help kids survive a new school?


Image via Nathan Csonka/Flickr

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