[This is a guest post and a collaboration]
The moment your last child leaves primary school is a moment I imagine that stays etched in your mind forever. I am about to find out in just a few short weeks! It’s a milestone moment – they’re moving on to BIG school now, where they will experience a completely different way of life. The jump up is quite staggering when you consider your child has a 6 to 8 week gap between moving to an entirely different schooling experience. Anyway, we can debate the education system for a long time, but that’s not the point of this post.
Rather, this post is about how parenting changes when your kids leave primary school. With my first three already past that hurdle I have noticed a few differences and there are plenty of reasons for this. Here are three of the biggest ways that your life as a parent will change:
Yep, you can’t ignore the fact that kids will go through puberty when they leave primary school and become teenagers. It’s the hardest time for every parent as you have to deal with mood swings and everything else that comes with it. There’s not a lot you can do other than ride it out and wait for the hormones to stabilise. (Both theirs and yours as you might be facing menopause at the same time!) Still, you will see your sweet little child transform into a creature inhabited by an alien within the space of a couple of years or even months. If you’re one of the fortunate few your child might not pose any problems at all, but be aware that there’s a high chance they’ll be moody and more inclined to answer back during this period.
The step-up from primary school means that your job as a parent changes with regards to education. Granted, the first few months or year of secondary school is rather similar. You may still help your child out with homework or they might come to you for assistance. But this changes as they get older and progress through school. You can’t and shouldn’t be expected to help them with homework anymore. Lend some assistance now and then when they ask, but it’s no longer your job to sit with them and ensure they do their work. If your child is going to progress through their time at school, they have to learn to work independently. As a parent, this is perhaps one of the hardest things to do as you’re probably so used to watching over their shoulders as they tackle their school work!
Lastly, you have to accept that you will spend less and less alone time with your children as they go through secondary school. There are a few reasons behind this, the first of which you can attribute to puberty yet again. They might just not be in the mood to hang out with you, and this hurts. But, they could also have lots of new friends in this new school and want to spend as much time as possible with them. It’s a natural fact of life that most kids spend less time with their parents when they leave primary school and become teenagers. Hopefully, yours will still want to spend time with you now and then, but don’t expect the same amount of alone time as before.
Change doesn’t always have to be a bad thing. Instead of looking at any negatives, try to focus on the positives. You have less hands-on parenting to do, freeing up time for hobbies or personal development. Still, it helps to be prepared and aware of what will change when your child leaves primary school.