Year 12 is often seen as a year of stress for teens and their families. These tips will help you and your teen not just survive, but thrive!
Take a bearing
During Year 11, your teen should have developed an idea of what they want to do after school, and therefore what they need to achieve in their final results. At the beginning of Year 12, it’s important that they review whether their Year 11 results put them on track. If there are any doubts, make sure they talk to a career or course adviser about whether they should make any adjustments. Check if they want you to attend this meeting for support, but make sure you let them lead the conversation.
Recalibrate if needed
Some teens will have lost enthusiasm for their original goals, or lost track of what they need to achieve them. It’s important to help them recalibrate their goals as soon as possible – knowing what you want to do out of school, and what you need to achieve in order to get there, is a great study motivator! Encourage them to think about what they might like to do after school, and map out the different ways to get to the jobs they are interested in. School career advisers and online career sites such as Job Jumpstart, Job Outlook and myfuture are great sources of information.
Learn from the past
Successful people spend time reflecting on their past performance in order to find ways to improve. Before Year 12 gets into full swing, encourage your teen to do this, using these questions as a guide:
- How well did I work in Year 11?
- How do I think Year 12 will differ from earlier years?
- What things helped me do well in the past? How can I keep doing these things?
- What things didn’t help me? Are there things I could do differently this year?
Keep things in balance
If your teen spends too much time studying, socialising or working and not enough sleeping, exercising or eating healthily, their learning and health are likely to suffer. Help your teen to work out how they will maintain a balance in their life, starting with a realistic schedule. Encourage them to stay connected with friends and family, and to maintain interests outside school.
Encourage help seeking
The most successful people recognise when they need help and go find it. Encourage your teen to see asking for help as a sign of strength, not weakness. Many schools offer weekly study sessions where tutors and teachers can provide one-on-one assistance, and most will have school counsellors your teen can talk to about broader issues. Make sure your teen knows what support is available at their school, and uses it needed.
There are also free and confidential online and telephone support and counselling services for young people, such as eheadspace (1800 650 890). If you are ever concerned about the mental health of your teen (or of anyone aged 12-25), you can also contact eheadspace as a parent.
While your teen is transitioning into adulthood, they still need you to stay actively involved in their education. Ideally your teen will see you as a coach or mentor, and be comfortable testing ideas with you, talking honestly about how they are going, and coming to you for advice. To be effective you’ll need to stay across what is required at school, so make sure you go to parent/teacher interviews and other key meetings with the school.
Become a time lord
An important part of this role is keeping track of all the dates that form part of the Year 12 calendar, including assignment due dates, exams, career days, university application deadlines, graduations and formals. Your teen’s school will do their best to keep you informed, so check that they have your current contact details. Read all the notes, emails and newsletters they send, and make sure your teen does the same.
Keep it in perspective
Year 12 is not an end in itself, but a step towards what your teen wants to do after school. There are many different ways to reach a particular career goal, so don’t treat Year 12 as a ‘make or break’ year. Support your teen to do their best, with the confidence that you both know what the other options are if they don’t do as well as they hope.