Parents main concerns about kids starting secondary school – bullying tops list

The top worries parents have when their children start secondary school include bullying, whether they’ll make friends – and peer pressure. A poll of 1,000 UK parents, of children aged nine to 16, revealed the 30 main anxieties mums and dads share at this important transition.

These include their kids walking to school alone, not always knowing where they are or what they are doing, school safety, and their child taking the bus alone.

Other concerns were their offspring accidentally getting into trouble, the volume of homework, and the influence of older pupils.

The survey, commissioned by location-sharing app Life360, showed 66 percent of parents were worried about their child starting secondary school.

And 53 percent reported being anxious about their child being less safe than they were at primary school.

Parenting expert, Sue Atkins, said: “The move up to secondary school can be a daunting time – not just for the kids themselves, but for parents too.

“If you’re feeling worried about your child starting secondary school, be sure to remain positive and optimistic when speaking about the move.

“Have an open and honest chat with your child about any concerns they might be having, and reassure them that feeling anxious is totally natural – everyone will be feeling this way.”

The study also found 49 percent of parents of older children, already at secondary school, said they found it hard to judge what rules to put in place.

And 34 percent agreed that after their child started “big school”, the biggest challenge was trusting them to be where they say they will be.

However, they worried less about bullying after the child had started – and they also became less concerned about how their child would cope in a stricter behaviour system than they may have been used to at primary school.

But on the other hand, after a term or so in secondary school, parents are actually slightly more likely to stress about whether their child will make friends.

Going to secondary school also does not have a significant impact on when parents believe kids should get their own mobile phone – with parents of both older and younger secondary school pupils suggesting it should be around the age of 10.

Almost six in ten (58 percent) parents said they will be monitoring their child’s location via a mobile phone by the time they start secondary school.

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And 32 percent claim they already did this when their youngsters were at primary school.

David Rice, International GM and CSO for Life360, added: “Parents often worry more than children when it comes to making the move to secondary school.

“Location-sharing apps can provide parents with a sense of security, and give them peace of mind by allowing them to monitor their child’s location in real-time, especially in emergency situations.

“In turn, this also allows kids to enjoy the new-found freedom that comes with starting secondary school.”

To help kids transition to their new school, 39 percent suggest talking to them about their own experiences, according to the figures.

And nearly half (47 percent) make sure to tell their kids what to do if they’re being bullied, while three in ten will make sure their bag and school gear is up to scrutiny from their peers.

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