Ages 14-18

Teens

They’re sort of like grown-ups, but not.

Does it suddenly feel like you have extra humans to feed in your home? No, you don’t have unexpected guests. You just have a teenager. Prepare for late night refrigerator raids and dinner conversations interrupted by text notifications. We’re kidding. (Kinda.) You’re about to see your baby through the final stage of their K-12 experience. You know what they say: the days are long but the years are so, so short.

Here’s What’s Going On

High school experiences are incredibly varied, depending on your child’s interests, strengths, and long-term goals. As they move through grades 9-12, they’ll be mastering independent study habits and conquering greater academic and social challenges. Of course, they’ll also be thinking ahead to what comes next, whether that’s college, a technical training program, or a job. As their trusted grown-up, these years are about helping them figure out those goals and make a plan to reach them.

What to Focus On

How to Help Your Teen

3 Ways to Support Your Child’s Development at Home

1

Start talking about what happens after high school. Seek out opportunities for your child to see what different kinds of career paths can look like, whether that means following you or a neighbor to work or striking up conversation with others in your community. And make sure they have exposure to a variety of post-high school paths, including two- and four-year colleges and job training programs in different professions (from traditional trades like plumbing and cosmetology to healthcare roles like medical and dental assisting to newer fields like information technology). The more options they have exposure to, the better, so they can start considering what might be the best fit for their goals.

2

Find ways to hold onto some family time when you can. It can feel impossible, with so many busy schedules, phones beeping, friends calling. Make a plan that works for your family, whatever that looks like. It might be phone-free meals (even once a week!), weekly ice cream stops on the way home from a sports practice, or an activity everyone likes to do together, like playing board games, riding bikes, or shooting hoops at the park.

3

Stay connected to school. This gets harder as your kids get older. But building those connections is still useful, because it’ll allow you to have a sense of how your child is doing during the school day and where or when they might need support. Especially if your child has their eye on college, their grades matter more than they ever have before. High schools tend to be big places where kids can sometimes fall through the cracks—especially kids who need extra support. Even if you won’t meet every teacher, try to get to know their guidance counselor, homeroom teacher, or someone else in the building who’s looking out for your child, so you have a touchpoint you can return to as needed.

It's time to

Consider Taking College Entrance Exams

If your student is considering applying to college, it’s likely they’ll need either the SAT or the ACT (or both). Taking the PSAT or PLAN (also known as the Pre-ACT) during their junior year can be a good idea for a few reasons: For one, these “practice tests” give your student a chance to familiarize themselves with the real tests with no pressure, since colleges won’t see these scores. Your student’s scores can help them guide any test prep they want to do for the real deal. And the PSAT in particular can help your student qualify for National Merit scholarship opportunities.

What's Next For Your Child's School Journey

New Adults

(Ages 19-24)

Life After High School

Whether your (almost grown-up) child is off to college, heading into a professional certification program, or going straight into the workforce or military, they'll still need your love and support. And occasionally even your advice.

Ready for the next Age + Stage?