Sometimes I think the word teenager should be classified with those other, unspeakable (at least in polite company) 4 letter words. I don't say this because of the actual child - my teenage son is one of the biggest joys in my life. Of course there is the moodiness, snappiness, questionable decision making, etc., but the majority of my time is spent marveling at the personality, intelligence, unique problem solving, and wit (and the wit is my FAVORITE) of this man child as he heads towards adulthood.
No, the "four letter word" classification comes from all of the pressure I feel to make the right decision in every instance so that I don't ruin my first born. My younger son has definitely benefited from the trial and error my husband and I have engaged in as we have navigated the un-charted waters of teenagers. The sleepless nights, the worry, the stress of hoping that you did everything that you could to make sure your child is ok can be overwhelming at time. And then there are the factors that are completely out of your control - the people in the outside world who aren't always fair or nice and who just don't like your child as much as you think they should (we have learned to accept that people don't always like us but it is just not possible someone doesn't love our little one right). In fact, I think it would be interesting to see the statistics of wine purchases in this country as it relates to the age of those people's children 😏🥂.
We sent my oldest to the school that I went to as a child - I knew it, I was comfortable with the environment, I felt I could navigate the system and that would result in the best outcome for my child. The thing about time - it tends to change things. The school that I went to is there in name, however, the world our children live in is so much different than what I grew up in and as a result the school is vastly different from what I experienced. I am not saying that different is good or bad. It is just different and that means that I made assumptions about what I was sending my child into and I didn't ask questions. I proved the old adage, "You know what happens when you assume...."
As I look at my teenager, I wonder what I could have done better and what advice I could give to my younger self and all of those with young teenagers looking towards high school. I think that the best advice I could give is to keep an open mind. Explore all of your options. Even if you think private school, parochial school, public school, boarding school isn't for you - do your research. Learn about each of your options and listen for the information that really hits home with you as to an environment that is going to work best for your child. You have watched your child navigate school thus far, you know their strengths and weaknesses - there is a place for all of them, however, you have to be willing to listen out for the school that is speaking to you and your child to find the best fit.
My son's school is K-12 and I really didn't consider another option for him as we went through his 8th grade year. I NEVER considered boarding school and now looking back I wish I had at least looked at what boarding school was all about. I NEVER considered our public school, however, researching public school would have informed me about their classes and programming to be able to evaluate the opportunities my child has. At the end of the day, I don't know that I would have made a different decision, however, I could have alleviated some of that "what if" stress and worrying knowing that I made a truly informed decision.