The Middle School Child – Oh, My!

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standing school boyHere are some helpful hints when dealing with the Middle School Child!!

  • There is a major difference between boys and girls at this age, so comparing children – either your own or those of friends/family – is a waste of time and could be quite detrimental.
  • Children at this age change from day to day.  The pendulum swings at a rapid pace.  One day a child, the next day a young adult and then back to a child again.
  • Expect the unexpected.
  • Remember that the child who makes it the hardest on you is the one who needs the most attention.
  • Don’t ever assume that you are getting the full truth.
  • Rely on friends and parents of your child’s friends to be your extended helpers.  Help each other.  This is different from comparing – this is, “I saw Johnny smoking.”  Do not feel like you are a snitch.  Parents must rely on each other.
  • Do not think that by calling your child out on an issue will destroy your relationship.  You are the parent.
  • Be fair even if the child is not.
  • Remember that this is a phase and will pass.
  • Offer your help – every day even if it is refused.  Your child will know you are there for support
  • Tell you child every day – often – that you love him/her and are always there.
  • Be tolerant of forgetfulness.  Remember that it is hard to grow up.
  • Disorganization will drive you crazy.  Offer suggestions for success.
  • Do NOT do your child’s work for him/her.
  • Volunteer at school.  Be a class parent.  Go on field trips. Just be aware and stay a bit of a distance away.  Don’t crowd the child.
  • Stay in touch with teachers.
  • Watch for unusual behavior for your child as it could be a sign of bullying or substance abuse.
  • Did I mention to tell your child that you love him/her?
  • You are the parent.  Growing up is not a democracy.  Be the parent.
  • Understand that when the little gnome pumps hormones into the child at night, a new being can emerge in the morning.
  • Don’t embarrass the child.
  • Contracts work at this age.  Determine curfews, house rules, and study habits.
  • Involve you child in some decision making policies.  Give two or three choices – all of which you can live with – and then let your child think s/he is in control.
  • Remember that you won’t be a chauffeur forever.  However, you can post a calendar and request advance notice.
  • Help you child to determine how s/he learns best and then offer to set him/her up in a way that makes sense.
  • Yes, you can restrict TV, computer and electronic time.
  • Yes, you can have coffees with other parents to talk strategy.
  • No, every other parent is not better than you are.  You are all the same, but need to join forces.
  • Smell water bottles to be sure that it is really water.
  • Know who your child’s friends are.  Meet the parents.
  • Encourage your child to have his/her friends over to your house.  Bring in a snack, bring in water, talk for a few minutes.
  • Always ask for help from the school if you need it.
  • They really care about fitting in with others – they REALLY care.
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