RGC Newsletter: Back to School

RGC Newsletter: Back to School

It is the New Year’s weekend. “I’m feeling quite nauseous. Maybe I’m coming down with a stomach bug,” says Leonard, holding his tummy in his hands. I thought to myself, “Oh really? He’s trying to feign it again to get out of school.”


“Why are you still up?” I pointed at the clock. “It’s 12.30 mn. Turn off your desk lamp.” “I can’t fall asleep,” Alice said matter-of-factly, with her eyes glued on her mobile phone screen.


As parents, these situations are familiar to us. Whether our pre-teen is going from primary school to Year 1, or moving on into a coed environment in Y5, or he/she is returning to school in Y6, it is a transition. It is a transition not only for our teens, but also for parents too.


Transitions come with some anxiety and other emotions, especially when your teens are uncertain about the year ahead, the relationships that will make, and the academic rigour they may face.


Here are some tips that will hopefully alleviate some of the stress that you may face in preparing your teen for the school year ahead.


Being Aware Of Your Teen’s Emotions[1]

Transition into the new school year is complicated for a teenager. Some may feel excited and happy, while others may feel anxious, sad and worried about the new school year. Most teens have a mix of both.

Research studies have shown that for parents to feel what their children are feeling and help them process them, they have to be first emotionally aware. Perhaps some of us grow up feeling uncomfortable talking about emotions, or are not in tune with our own emotions.  With teenagers, there is a caveat: their emotions have many layers and are often sudden and extreme. We need to be careful on how we help them unpack these emotions. They may not verbally express it but unconsciously, their emotional distress may come in the form of changes in everyday behaviours and habits. Be alert and take cues from these changes to talk to your teen.

Be open-minded when you approach your teen. Instead of making assumptions about what they may be feeling, ask him/ her, “I’m concerned that you are not eating much lately. How are you feeling?

Talk to your teen about how he/she feels about starting the new school year.

Open to New Experiences

Some of our teens may want to try something new in school, possibly to take on a new CCA, an unconventional A-level subject or a unique subject combination. Yet, they may be fearful of taking the risk as it is uncharted waters to them. It is fairly common at their developmental stage to want to experiment and try different things.

Sometimes as parents, we are quick to offer our unsolicited advice or maybe, dismiss their thoughts. Instead, our teens would feel heard if we could sit down with them and hear about their thinking process. If they are still unsure, provide some questions for them to reflect on such as, “What made you want to take up Modern Dance this year?” If your teen is quite firm on acting on their decision, it will be wise to guide them through the pros and cons of their decision.

Applaud your teen’s courage for wanting to try something new. When they do try a new subject or take on a new CCA, help them acknowledge that the reality may not meet their expectations at times. However, what matters more is the process and the experience gained.

Adequate Sleep[2]

If your teen is stressed out or anxious, the first thing they would let go of is sleep.

Both biological and psychosocial factors contribute to teenager’s sleep-wake cycles and level of melatonin (sleep-producing hormone) production. Research has shown that teenagers’ melatonin production start later at night compared to children and adults. As the school year progresses, the number of sleep hours may decrease due to increase in homework time, CCAs and a busy schedule.

We cannot control how our teen’s school commitments would be like in the year, but we can start the year on a good foot through cultivating a healthier lifestyle.

Regular sleeping pattern does not come naturally for any of us. As parents, we can start by ensuring our teens have at least eight hours of sleep in the week prior to the start of school. It may be difficult at first trying to argue with your teen on the importance of sleep, but it is worth it!


 RGC image

Photo taken from Reachout Australia 2019


If you require further support or would like to talk to one of us, please feel free to contact any of the counsellors at RGC via email: [email protected]g

Warmest regards,

The RGC team

RGC team

1 Gottman, J. (1997). Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child: The Heart of Parenting. New York: Simon & Schuster Paperbacks.

2 Sigelman, C.S., Rider, E.A., de George-Walker, L. (2016). Lifespan Human Development. Australia & New Zealand: Cengage Learning.

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#Community #Parenting #Raffles Guidance Centre #School Counsellor #Stories

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