I dread the day that my children reach the middle school years. I can remember by definite “know it all” early teens. I also know the attitudes of middle school children well from teaching them.
The early teens and middle school years are very delicate and confusing for children. They are caught somewhere between childhood and adulthood. They still need the guidance from adults but often feel too mature or old to ask for it.
If you have a child that will be entering middle school or you will be teaching middle school age children, I have listed some advice for you.
Begin planning ahead now. Realize that you and your middle school child will have conflict and disagreement. Begin thinking about which issues are worth the fight and which topics you are willing to bend and taken on. Finding a few issues that you are willing to negotiate on will give your child some feeling of control.
Encourage your child to make a list and set small short-term goals for him or herself. Keep a school tracker at home if your child’s school does not require one. Do not feel bad about reminding your child of deadlines and projects due.
Be a good listener. Children at this age often want to keep their social lives away from their parents. Be encouraging and let your child know that you are there if he or she needs you. However, being a listener and only offering advice when asked usually comes across better than continuously stating your opinion and thoughts.
Deal with one issue at a time. If the need arrives to discipline your child, address the current problem only. Do not escalate the situation by throwing in previous occurrences that have already been dealt with or let slip by. Children can feel overwhelmed and attacked if you hit them with too many faults at one time.