Here's how Kvetch helped her kids deal with the anxiety of starting middle school and high school:
Both my kids are starting new schools in two weeks. My daughter will sashay off to junior high and my son will go full steam ahead into <gulp> high school. And although both of them were ready to say buh-bye to their schools, and look for every excuse on the planet to be a little more grown-up, they are also in sync because they're terrified. And that's normal. You know that and I know that, but they don't.
Both of them, at dinner tonight stated their reluctance to be at the bottom of the totem pole of their new school. They wondered, in unison, how on earth they would find their way on day one. And while I thought it was obvious, it wasn't to them all. They know so much at this age — sometimes its important to remember the simple stuff. The basics. They are kids and they were imagining wandering aimlessly around, alone, on the first day of school. I simply said, "No one else in your grade has ever been there before either. Not one person. You won't be alone. Think about it." You know what they said? "Oh, yeah, you're right." They were so busy and self-involved (of course) they didn't see what was right in front of them.
It's important not to make assumptions about what our preteens and teens can process on their own. We never want to underestimate them, but we don't want to leave them blowing in the wind either. The result? Minds at ease and mom is right all in the same day. We totally went out for ice cream.