Parenting a Freshman vs. an Upperclassman – 8 Things Parents Should Know!

senioritis, freshman, high school, teen independence, Dana is a 16-year-old from San Diego, CA. Her love of reading and writing has allowed her to share the experiences and lessons that have taught her so much with countless others. She enjoys traveling to new places, dancing and cooking, and hopes that one day she will both work in the education field and become a published author. 

Parents who have sent off their children to college can reminisce that the four years of parenting a high school student were part of an illustrious yet rocky adventure. From basking in blissful freshmen orientations to walking the dreadful road of college visits and applications, these parents have experienced it all. Here are eight differences between parenting a freshman and parenting an upperclassman that parents should be aware of in order to stick with their children during the ups and downs of their vital high school career.

1. Freedom. (With a driver’s license, job, etc. upperclassmen have greater responsibilities). Freshmen and sophomores are getting close (but they’re seeking their freedom, so a bit of “rebellion” is a natural part of the process).

2. Moving up vs. letting go. Freshmen make a small jump from middle school to high school, but an upperclassman leaving for college is a jump into a whole different world. Expect and be prepared for change.

3. Parents of upperclassmen face separation anxiety (college-bound seniors are ready to be sent off, but some parents find it hard to let go). Freshmen are heading towards departure, but they still have time to learn and discover themselves, so it is best to give it to them.

4. Upperclassmen know the game of high school (thus, they are independent and know how to manage on their own). Freshmen are new to the routine and still need guidance and advice (such as choosing courses).

5. “These are the best years of your life, so make it count” can be early for many freshmen who have just begun dealing with academic pressure. Upperclassmen might consider college upon these words.

6. Trust. While parents of upperclassmen tend to leave all responsibility in their children’s hands, parents of freshmen are new to the “trust all” practice and at first, might find it hard.

7. Expect Change. Freshmen are still discovering their roles, identities, and passions during high school, but upperclassmen are “stable” and “mature” enough to embark on something bigger.

8. Senioritis. Parents of freshmen should be aware that “senioritis”, an ebbing of motivation and effort by school seniors as evidenced by tardiness, absences, etc. is also the freshmen bubonic plague. (Parents should protect their freshmen from such symptoms at all costs).



Image by Tulane Public Relations on Flickr 



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One Response to “Parenting a Freshman vs. an Upperclassman – 8 Things Parents Should Know!”

  1. tommy thevenot
    January 23, 2012 at 6:21 am #

    nothing substantial here in this article. pretty obvious stuff. this is the second such article -give me something I can use and put into practice

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