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So your child is starting high school

As your child matures they will face different challenges as their bodies change and they are preparing for high school. This might be scary for both you and your child.

It might help to think about these changes and talk to your child to help prepare for this transition – for example, understanding the changes in your child’s body as they approach puberty and what’s happening in their brain, preparing to separate and having new routines, staying healthy and clean and getting enough sleep.

What common behaviours might I notice as my child reaches puberty?

These changes below are really common at this developmental stage.

  • Mood swings, e.g. tearfulness, anger
  • Reluctance to attend school
  • Physical symptoms like; upset stomach, feeling sick, headache or growing pains (this could be linked to anxiety)
  • Inadequate personal hygiene
  • Bedwetting or disturbed sleep
  • Challenging behaviour, e.g. being uncooperative or becoming argumentative
  • Withdrawal from parents, wanting their own space
  • Developing an interest in relationships

On MindMate we have information on a range of Common Issues faced by young people and what could help. You might also find our Parenting Teenagers page reassuring.

What can I do to help ?

  • Adapt and agree house rules and be consistent. Try to stick to routines and make sure you remember to reward good behaviour.
  • Provide a healthy and balanced diet, and eat family meals together where possible as this provides an opportunity for natural conversation.
  • Encourage your child to exercise and or join after school clubs of interest and talk about why this is important.
  • Encourage your child to talk about the changes in their body, and offer reassurance.
  • Support your child to get a good nights sleep.

Useful links

Your amazing brain

Find out together what’s happening as your child’s brain grows and develops.

Your amazing brain

Getting better sleep

Top tips on how your child can get enough sleep and why this is important.


Parenting teenagers

Find out what to expect from your child in their teenage years.

Parenting teenagers

Resources for parents

Ways you can support your child, plus helpful links to more information including how to get extra support from school if they need it.

Parent resources

Information on puberty

The stages of puberty and what happens to boys and girls – from NHS Choices.

NHS Choices

Top tips for parents

Ten ways for parents to help children cope with change, – from YoungMinds