Transitioning Out of High School | A Teen Wise Guest Post
A Note from Amanda: As a senior photographer, I see firsthand what seniors experience in their last year of high school, and how they feel as graduation nears. The transition out of high school is filled with many changes and emotions. This week I am so excited to share the perspective of Teen Wise founder and parenting coach, Sheri Gazitt.
Changes and Transitions
“In between endings and beginning is a discomfiting neutral zone that most people would rather avoid, but is essential for personal growth.” – William Bridges, Transitions
Celebrating Each Transition
Transitions are abundant in our lives and are often accompanied by a service, ritual, or celebration. We have baby showers to announce and prepare for a new life. Birthday parties celebrate the beginning of another year. We have retirement parties to acknowledge the start of a new life chapter. And graduation parties mark the completion of school. There is cake, stories, high-fives, and an eye towards the future.
But this year has muffled the celebrations and muddled the transitions. Without the typical celebrations, it might be difficult for you and your teen to feel like there is a clear ending and a new beginning.
Creating an Atmosphere for Your Senior
It’s true that celebrations were a bit minimal this year, but we can still create a feeling of transition for ourselves and our teens by reflecting on the past and creating excitement for the future. In his book Transitions, William Bridges writes that “Change is situational. Transition is psychological.” We will have to do our best to create an atmosphere and opportunity for transition in our homes.
Senior high school photos are a tradition that marks the transition from high school to adulthood. The photos capture the essence of the graduating senior as they look ahead to the future. This is why senior photos are such a celebrated tradition. It is a way to acknowledge and begin the transition to adulthood and to life beyond high school.
Graduating from High School
After graduation from high school specifically, there is a time of uncertainty and sometimes disconnection. It’s the discarding of one identity and the creation of a new one. This requires self-reflection and awareness. That’s where parents come in.
A Note for Parents
You can be the catalyst for this transition by being aware of it and creating conversations around it. Ask your teen questions to gauge how they are feeling. It may help to ask them what they will miss most about high school and what they are happy to leave behind. Also, ask them what they are looking forward to next year. These questions can be relevant for transitions from pre-k to Kinder, elementary to middle school, and middle school to high school as well. It’s ok to mourn the loss of your traditional celebrations and ceremonies. But your teen needs you to step into the change and support their transition.
And by the way, don’t forget that you will be transitioning too. Take the time to reflect on the differences that you as a parent will experience in the upcoming school year.
About the Author
Sheri Gazitt is a parent and teen educator who delves into difficult topics that arise during the difficult transitions of adolescence. She has been a guest on Q13, Chat with Women, Disney Radio, and The News Chick and contributes to Parent Map, Sammamish Review, and other publications. Among those she has advised are delegates from the World Council, Seattle University, Boys and Girls Clubs, Seattle Storm, Girl Scouts, and numerous PTAs.
Her early career was spent in the research field within Neurology and Neuropsychology departments. The combination of her professional experiences and her personal life gives her a unique perspective on the teen world. She has three daughters of her own spanning high school and college. All of them act as consultants and give their stamp of approval on content. You can download her eBook on surviving teen meltdowns here.