So you have a kid headed to middle school? First of all, we’re sorry. But most importantly, we can help! From their changing brains and emerging sexuality to social drama and new academic challenges ahead, you’re probably wondering how your kids (and you!) are going to survive the next three years. With the help from some of our Parent Toolkit experts and guest writers, we compiled the ultimate guide to navigating the tumultuous time that is middle school.
- MSNBC and NBC News Anchor Kate Snow shares her hopes--and fears-- as her youngest heads to middle school: "I think I cried because that’s all over. We will never again go to a “Back to School Night” at an elementary school, filled with the drawings and cuteness of tiny children. Abby… is about to enter Middle School. Yep. Middle School. Capital M, capital S. At least in my mind." More
- Adolescence is the start of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity during which the brain is most responsive to turning information into learned memory at maximum speed. The enhanced rate at which new memory forms in response to input during these years results in its dynamic reorganization. Help your children make the most of these years of their most efficient learning potential by providing opportunities to increase their motivation. More
- The middle school “social blind side” happens to all kids. A social blind side is when, at some point during middle school, your child will be faced with one of the following scenarios: the realization that a friend is really a frenemy; that the whispers in the hall are about him; that she wasn’t invited – didn’t even know about - the birthday party she saw on Instagram. How you react, and how you don’t, can make all the difference during this difficult social time. More
- As a school counselor, I found that one of the major middle school parent “eye-openers” was the change in academic expectations at the middle school level. All of a sudden, students were assigned to teams, changing classes, choosing electives, and dealing with “tons” of homework. Interestingly, the kids seemed to deal with these changes with few issues. It was the parents who suffered the most. More
- As a parent of a middle schooler, you are critically important in guiding your child through these tumultuous years. Now is when his or her brain’s academic, emotional, social, and ethical development is at its most sensitive responsiveness. Your guidance and the model you set will serve as a lighted pathway to construction of the social-emotional skills, personal values, and self-reliance your child needs to both thrive now and achieve their future dreams. More
- Most kids, even very social ones, need some guidance in responsibly navigating the complex social interactions that happen via device-based communication. Every family will find slightly different challenges navigating this transition, but parents do possess the skills needed to help guide our kids. More
- As children enter middle school and instantly morph into adolescents, there are two developmental tasks looming large for them. First, they need to deal with puberty and feel some sense of “being normal.” Then, once they accept that they are not a freak of nature, their next task is to be seen (by their peers) as “lovable.” That’s when we, as parents, tend to collectively wince. More
Get ready! The next few years are going to be a crazy time. But your love and support will go a long way. And your kids, whether they admit it or not, will be grateful for it.