Parenting Your Year 12 School Student

Every parent wants the best for their child. This is true for all stages of their child’s development. But this urge for their progeny to be the best they can be may cause big problems when the young person is in their final year of schooling. Even the most chilled out and laid back parent can become a bit overbearing or slightly anxious and meddling. On the other end of the scale, a parent who is usually fairly well in control of their offspring can find themselves placing even firmer restrictions on their child’s time and activities. It’s normal to want them to reach their full potential academically. It’s normal to want them to do their best and thus enjoy the positive consequences of their hard work.

But here’s the dilemma … by the time a person is in their last year of school they are actually nearly at the end of that bridge between childhood and adulthood. They are in the late adolescent stage and, as such, they are naturally resistant to parental authority.

Parents, more than ever before, you are required at this time (and for a whole year) to be a diplomat, a self-composed supporter, an unflappable observer and a carefully restrained prompter. No longer will your nagging or threats or withdrawal of privileges work. The more you are able to trust that you have done your best in raising your child, and the more you are able to accept that it’s time to let go, the more likely it is that they will step up and take the reins themselves. Yes, they may make mistakes; they may need to lift their own game along the way to get the best results. But they have to find something within themselves now. If you take on a background supportive role you will see them sigh with relief and puff out with pride at the sense of faith you are showing in them. To ban them going to gym or to ban them attending that party or to ban them from social media is to set up relational conflict and stubborn rebellion. I’ve seen too many young people go on strike and lay down their tools (figuratively speaking of course – you know, refuse to study, withdraw into gloominess, play computer games all night) in response to parents just trying to help their son or daughter get good grades. In the long run it’s not worth it! What’s more important is a happy and well-adjusted Year 12 student who has a loving and trusting relationship with their parent.thority. They are just about fully individuated. That means, they are really becoming their own person and they are innately wired to strive to be independent and do their own thing. What a pity this coincides with Year 12!


© Lee-Ann Prideaux PhD