Kids aren’t the only ones who get anxious about the transition to middle school. Parents face the challenge of supporting their tweens. Learn what every parent should know about middle school.
(This list is simply a collection of suggestions gleaned from the experiences of other Moms. If you suspect your child is the victim of bullying or social media harassment, address it with school officials right away. If their behavior becomes withdrawn, violent, or harmful to themselves or others, consult a licensed therapist immediately).
Don’t Project Your Past Onto Your Kid
When your child enters 6th grade, there’s a chance you’ll have flashbacks to your middle school years. You may remember the boy who made fun of your new outfit, or the mean girl who excluded you from the popular kid’s table. Your partner may remember the time they didn’t make the team or win the big game.
Don’t project your middle school misery onto your child; your child will have their own unique experience. Yes, a lot of it will be awkward, embarrassing, and even painful. But the best tack to take is listening, love, and reassurance.
The middle school years are the dawn of greater independence for tweens and new teens. They’ll want to spend more time with their friends than with you, and they’ll be obsessed with what their peers think of them.
They’ll treat you like you are the biggest embarrassment in their lives. They’ll assert themselves with argumentativeness and even defiance. They want to be taken seriously and to make their own decisions; a parent’s role is to subtly help them make smart ones.
They Want To Be Confident But They Are Terribly Insecure
Their voice breaks, or their period starts. Suddenly the girls are all taller than the boys, until the boys quickly grow and tower over their parents. They’re learning about deodorant, feminine hygiene products, cliques, and crushes.
Middle schoolers desperately want other kids to look up to them, but attention makes them squirm. Layer academic pressure on top of all that, and you’ve got a trembling blob of hormonally supercharged angst.
You’re Still Their Parent
Perhaps the top of the list of what every parent should know about middle school is that middle schoolers still need rules and boundaries. They want to know that their parents are there for them whenever they want to talk. That’s a particular challenge for working Moms.
Set aside time to reassure your middle schooler that they are the most important aspect of your life and try to get a sense of what’s bothering them.
Tweens and young teens won’t earn the independence they crave if they don’t develop effective life skills. Work with your child’s teachers and counselors to understand how they’re doing with important social-emotional life skills. This will help your child cope with the strain of middle school, and help prepare for the pressures of high school.