Parenting your Middle Schooler:
Keep in mind that your Middle Schooler is often as frustrated with figuring out who they are as you are frustrated with their behavior. They are battling with letting go of childish activities and trying to embrace the maturity that is upon them. Here are a few tips to help:
~ Listen to them – Allow your middle school child to communicate the social pressures that he/she experiences. Now is the time that your listening skills are of utter importance. Your child’s dramatic experience may seem trivial to you, but listen to what they have to say. They might be conveying an underlying issue where they are seeking your advice. Your listening will open them up to feeling comfortable talking to you about the big issues they face.
~ Encourage activity both physically and creatively – It’s important that your Middle Schooler has things to occupy their time while not getting too overloaded. A guideline could be: one activity that is physical for their body’s health (bike riding, hiking, a favorite sport, or cheerleading) and a second activity that is creative (art, dance, a musical instrument, band, or theater).
~ Allow them to problem solve – The middle school student struggles with just how much help they need from you. Try to let them know of your support while at the same time taking a step back to let them make decisions to resolve issues with friends or teachers. You can guide without interfering. Teach them organizational skills to help them succeed academically.
Your guidance, support, and communication as opposed to your judgment, criticism, and interference are key when dealing with your Middle Schooler. They need you now more than ever, so take this time to shape them into the responsible well-rounded young adults they are designed to become.