How to Prepare Your Child Mentally for High School

Mr. Ravi Rajasekhar
Dec 29, 2021
High school

Abu Dhabi is the capital of the United Arab Emirates. The expat population in Abu Dhabi has increased every year. In fact, around 90% of the population is that of expats and includes Indians, Pakistanis, British, etc. Naturally, lately, the government is pushing for better opportunities in terms of not only work but also education.

Why You Must Prepare Your Child for High School in Abu Dhabi?

If you are an expat, chances are that your child is exposed to multiple schools of thought and cultures. High school is also a time when your child is transitioning and is neither an adult nor a child. They don’t have adult rights.

Teenagers still have their prefrontal cortex developing during teen years i.e thirteen to nineteen. This causes distortions between reality and the hyperactive or hyperarousal brains. The word through their amygdala makes it redundant to talk to them in a way we would expect adults to respond and behave.

Why Should Expat Students Prepare for High School?

Expats are from across the world. This can cause a lot of cultural and mental distortions and sometimes even lead the child to be scared in a world of strangers in Abu Dhabi.

Hence, it becomes very important for expat parents to prepare their children for high school since it shapes the student and paves their life, attitudes and beliefs for life ahead.

Let’s look at some ways to prepare your child for high school if you are an expat in Abu Dhabi:

● Educate your child on topics like sex education, bullying, ragging since these are very important aspects of growing up in a school and common occurrences irrespective of the quality of the school.

● Share your own high school experience and what can they expect while attending high school.

● Prioritise their health overstudies, reassure them and support them.

● Provide them with a safe space to talk and express, explore. Make sure you have a counselor in case a requirement arises.

● Educate them about Abu Dhabi culture, currency, ways of transportation, etc.

● Interact with their friends and be involved in their lives, and be vulnerable, honest.

● Place boundaries that are strict but flexible when need be, especially about curfew, alcohol, drugs etc.

● Educate your child about the subjects they chose and show respect for their decisions. Make sure you learn with them and update your own knowledge.

● Interact with teachers and faculty of Abu Dhabi Indian schools to understand the atmosphere, learning culture and expectations. Explain your child the same and give them options and open dialogue in case of struggles.

How Else Can You Support Your Child to Transition into High School Smoothly?

● Abu Dhabi has a rich diversity in terms of the backgrounds of people who are from different walks of life. Talk to your child about racism, discrimination, the importance of equity, equality, respect towards their peers.

● Encourage and explore different sports and extracurricular activities that your child might show interest in. Ask your child if they would be interested in joining, even leading certain clubs of their interest like football, swimming, literature, dramatics, technology, arcade, badminton, debates etc.

● Talk to your child about their expectations out of high school and what they would like to learn and look at options.

● Ask and listen to any apprehensions, anxieties, stresses that your child might be facing and support them through their transition and journey.

● Equip your child with stationery, machinery, devices, or any other thing or material required for high school. Make sure the Abu Dhabi school fees are in place for your child’s high school.

● If it is an International school in Abu Dhabi, chances are they will be rich in technology and use tech-savvy systems for learning. Learn basic technology yourself and teach your child the same like typing online, accessing the systems like Google Meet, Zoom, Microsoft Teams etc so it is easy for them to slip into the process of both offline and online education.

Usually, artificial and virtual reality is also being used by good schools to educate students, discuss the interesting advances in technology and how it will help them learn better.

● Make sure your child has been vaccinated or has a report of negative covid before starting school since the new variant Omicron is on the rise.

● If you are looking at applications to International Indian schools, make sure they are submitted on time, checked, read, grammatically correct and supervised by someone.

● Also, make sure that your child is able to express and mention everything required by the school whether it is a test, essay or in-person interview.

Things to Avoid While Preparing Your Child for Indian International High School in Abu Dhabi

While high school can be scary, exciting, and overwhelming for a child, it is also emotional for caregivers. It is important to see what not to do or avoid while preparing your child for high school education in Abu Dhabi Indian schools-

● Don’t expect your child to fulfill your unfinished desires. This puts them under immense pressure and in a loop of low self-esteem if they are unable or disinterested in what they wished.

● Do not expect your child to have the same attitude towards learning as yours when you were in high school. Times have changed and so have education systems, lifestyles, and new generations. They might have completely different outlooks and priorities and struggles than you did.

● Do not dismiss your child’s troubles as petty or attention-seeking behavior. Remember, they are working from their amygdala and it’s of no use to argue with someone who is not at the same level as you whose prefrontal, decision and rationale mind is developed.

● Do not expect your child to do as well or worse than others. Comparison is the worst enemy of growth. Positive competition is important, but shaming your child or calling them incapable or dismissing them will do more harm than good.

● Do not try to cross their boundaries and force them into things they don’t wish to. It is important to make them learn boundaries, but know it works both ways. Let them have outlets and privacy. Don’t try to sneak into their rooms, read their diaries, check their phones if provided. This ruptures the parent-child relationship and causes a lack of trust and openness.


High school is an interesting and life-changing learning experience for a child as well as parents. It is almost like a rite of passage. It is important to know that as parents we can be “good enough” parents and don’t have to be perfect or even compare ourselves with others.

Till we are learning our own biases, work on ourselves, be honest and vulnerable, courageous with our kids they will be fine to face the world. 

While it can be scary and overwhelming for teenagers, sometimes even traumatic, it is important to have an open dialogue and communication, trust and values with your child while preparing them for high school.

It is important to support them, but also place boundaries and know every child is the same human in essence, but different in personality. Hence, to honor the sameness of the human experience and encourage the difference of capability and interests.

Mr. Ravi Rajasekhar

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