“My daughter just started at a new school and can’t make friends. What can we do to help her fit in?”

Hello, thanks for tuning in to Tips on Teens. My name is Kent Toussaint, Licensed Marriage and
Family Therapist, here to answer your parenting questions every Wednesday at noon. Thanks
for sending your questions, we love them. If you have questions you want to send us, you can email
us at tipsonteens at teentherapycenter .com or you can direct messages right here on Facebook.
Here is this week's question. My daughter just started ninth grade at a new school. She was just
in a small private school before and now in a public high school, a big public high school. She
is crying all the time and says that she can't make friends. She had lots of friends at her old
school. We can't send her to a private school anymore because it is too expensive. What can we
do to help her fit in? First, my heart goes out to this girl. It's a tough transition what she's
going through. We've all been through some kind of transition like this in our lives and it's
tough, especially when you're 14. It's also tough

for the parents. I'm gonna get into the parents, but first I want to talk about this girl and her
experience and how to help her. First of all, like I said, this is the biggest transition she's
probably ever had in her life. She came from this, you know, small community and, you know, small
private schools, in a sense, are a series of overlapping communities that all kind of connect.
So you kind of know everybody. When you go to a big public high school, four to five thousand kids,
it's a series of small communities that don't necessarily overlap. So it can be overwhelming
to a new kid in a new school where they don't know anyone and so that's a big struggle for her. She
also, the email said, she had a lot of friends at the old school so there's probably a lot of fear
of missing out. She's a lot of grief and sadness and loss that she is now losing that community
and that's a big deal. So how do you help her? Before you start giving our solutions or trying
to solve the problem, just empathize

with her. Just put your arm around her, let her know you understand, be the shoulder for her to
cry on. Because once that emotional need is met, then we can start trying to fix the problem.
Because emotional problems require emotional solutions. Right now, she has an emotional
problem that she's trying to deal with. She's trying to cope with these big emotions. Once she's
settled down and more at ease, then we can start trying to solve this problem. First, I would
want to encourage her by giving her agency and asking her, hey, how have you tried to make friends?
What steps have you taken? And she may say, I don't know, nothing. She may say, oh, I try to talk
to these people, they wouldn't talk to me. Whatever she says, just listen to her, understand,
show her empathy, show her you understand. Once she feels your understanding, you can then
start talking about school clubs, activities like sports or choir or stage crew for the the
play or you know whatever it is. Then again it doesn't have

to be the most amazing thing in the world. It just has to be something that she can go and talk to
people. I also advise you talking to her school counselor because there's gonna be a lot of other
kids in your daughter's same position feeling left out, feeling alone, feeling like they don't
know how to connect with people and that school counselor may be able to connect some of these
people together. And again with clubs and all these organizations, many of them don't start
until, you know, a few weeks or midway through the semester. So it's important to start working
on getting that together now. We can also help her connect with her old friends on weekends.
I think it's important. She doesn't want to just be ripped away from those friends, but we also
don't want her to lean on those friends so much that she's not stretching her circle in her new
school as well. So that's a balancing act. Now I want to talk to you, the parents, and how to help
you because this is going to be a difficult

transition for you as well. You say in the email that you can't continue with the old school because
it's too expensive. And I get that. And that's a really tough thing for parents to go through.
There's a lot of guilt for some parents because they've created this great environment, but
now they have to change it. Not because of anything anyone did. It's just the fact of life. budgets
are budgets and we have to respect those and You know I'm sure there's a lot of guilt and sadness
on the parents part and when she complains and cries and gets mad at you It's easy to touch on those
feelings you have and it may create some panic or anger inside of you It's important that you
were aware of that so you don't Inadvertently and unconsciously lash out at your daughter for
these things and this can happen if you're not aware of your own feelings So make sure you as the
parents are reaching out to your community, your friends, your siblings, your therapist,
whoever that is. Make sure that you are

understanding your feelings. You're expressing them. You're getting them out. So when your
daughter is upset and is blaming you and is getting mad at you because you guys can't afford the
school and all her friends can, that you are still grounded and you're not taking it personally.
Because it's really not about you. It's really about her sadness and her grief, but she's struggling
to deal with it because she's 14 And she's not an adult and she doesn't have an adult brain So it's
important that again take care of you so you can take care of her anyways That's our question
for today. Keep them coming again if you have your questions email us at tips on teens at teen
Therapy center comm or direct messages right here on Facebook We love hearing from you, and
I'll see you next week taping from our new office week We're finally moving! Hooray! So tune
in next week, Wednesday at 12 o 'clock. Thanks guys. Bye -bye.

Moving to a new school can be extremely difficult for any child or teen. This week’s #TipsOnTeens question comes from a concerned parent whose daughter has changed schools and is really struggling. Here’s the question:

“My daughter just started 9th grade at a new school. She was just in a small private school before and now in a big public high school. She is crying all the time and says that she can’t make friends. She had lots of friends at her old school. We can’t send her to private school anymore because it is too expensive. What can we do to help her fit in?”

Tips On Teens is a vlog that our Clinical Director, Kent Toussaint, hosts every Wednesday at 12:00pm on Facebook Live.  He will be answering parenting questions submitted to us by you to our email at TipsOnTeens@TeenTherapyCenter.com.  Send us any questions you might have about parenting kids and teens and Kent will be answering them every week!

Head on over to our Facebook page every Wednesday at 12:00pm to watch LIVE!  Check out our page here – https://www.facebook.com/TeenTherapyCenter/

If you have more questions or would like more information, please contact our Clinical Director, Kent Toussaint at 818.697.8555.