Transitioning to adolescence key period of development

FRESNO, Calif.

Tori Coles is having fun showing her school spirit at Clark Intermediate School in Clovis. But the transition to junior high can have a downside. "Some of your old friends you still want to hang out with but they meet new friends and hang out with them a little more and stuff like that."

It's an adjustment for parents as well.

"Not knowing all the families, so I'm used to knowing all my daughter's friends families that's a little different not having anyone to watch her afterschool because she's not doing after school sports most of the days of the week," Tori's Mother Cindy Coles said.

Robert Shuman has been with Clovis Unified for 23 years and has seen it all. "New friends, old friends. They lose friends, lots of drama. The students will say all my friends have changed; they're different so they are saying now they're trying to impress each other peer pressure is a huge deal."

The transition to adolescence can make parents nervous. "Drugs and boys ha ha you don't' want them to take over," Cindy Coles said.

The reality is, as kids get older, they are more likely to be exposed to risky behaviors. Educators say parents should get to know the new people in their children's lives.

"Look who the new friends are on campus, who they're hanging out with. Are there grades dropping that kind of stuff if you feel like your student or son or daughter is getting some weird phone calls from different people you don't know about I'd make sure you meet them," Shuman said.

Clark intermediate has a program called WEB: Where everyone belongs. Older kids help younger students transition into 7th grade. And kids are encouraged to make positive connections in school.

"If they're connected with sports, in clubs cheerleading, band, those are one of the biggest things that any parent can do for their child if they get them connected in the school,"

By keeping our kids busy, they are more likely to make positive choices...Something we can all cheer about!

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