“The thing I remember most about middle school was how tough it was. You’re not quite an adult, but you’re not a kid anymore.” Jen Walters”
It is this battlefield of questions that we leave our children to face their own fears, tackle their own obstacles and to become their own person; and all too often it is with our regret that we have not prepared them for this fight. The middle school transition can be smoother if the fifth grader has received enough preparation for this momentous time in life.
• Getting to class on time
• Being different
• Homework schedule
• Physical education classes
• They are growing up
• Effects of peer pressure
• Their body image suffers
• Loss of family time
• They will start thinking adults are stupid How can parents promote successful years in Middle School?
1. Let them learn through your example- Be the person that you want your child to be; model good behavior, strong organizational skills and strong values.
2. Validate their feelings- No matter how irrational their feelings, validate them to promote self-confidence.
3. Empathize- Restate their conversations back to them so they know you truly are listening, ask them to do the same for you.
4. Give them choices and consequences- Get their opinions on appropriate privileges and restrictions; find a compromise that you can both agree on.
5. Be a mentor, not a restrictive parent- Be their friend, sometimes you might be the only one they think they can count on.
6. Remain approachable- Approachable parents have greater insight on their children’s’ lives than restrictive parents.
7. Bolster social skills- Encourage them to develop friendships, improve listening skills and increase their active participation in the community.
1. Increase self confidence- Use small manageable tasks instead of the complete chore at one time.
2. Assist with organization- Buy appropriate backpacks and materials that are small enough to keep consistent.
3. Teach about failure- It is an important stepping stone in life and is essential to improving next time.
4. Become knowledgeable- It is not just like what you went through in the old days; there are new pressures, new changes and new social consequences that you need to support your child through; learn what you can to help them through it.
6. Support- Independence is the key to a happy and progressive Middle School experience.
7. Family time- Maintain consistent and strong family time including dinners, recreation and game time.
8. Be alert- Signs of depression and anxiety can be easily overlooked.