Define Safe and Smart Choices With Your Middle-Schooler
For example, talk to them about their physical health and the consequences of making irresponsible decisions like smoking cigarettes. Tell them about the impact on their health, like how it would affect their soccer skills or singing ability. Also talk through alternatives to negative choices. For instance, explain to them that they can always call you or other family members for a ride home instead of getting into a car with someone who has been drinking or using drugs.
Support Your Middle-Schooler's Decisions
Support your 8th grader when they make decisions you don’t agree with. It is bound to happen in every parent-child relationship. Even if you knew it was a bad decision, take the opportunity to talk with them about it. Try not to lecture; instead, ask what they learned from the choice, and how he’ll handle a similar situation in the future. If they hurt you or someone else, give them the opportunity to make amends and ask for forgiveness. It’s important to show your teen that even if you don’t agree, you will still love them and be there to talk with them. For example, instead of saying, “I told you it was a bad idea to skip studying for that test,” say “Do you think you’ll skip studying next time? What would have been a better choice?”
Bring Your Middle-Schooler Into Discussions About Family Issues
By allowing them into discussions like which movie to see or what to have for dinner -- as well as more important matters, such as how to deal with issues affecting younger siblings -- you’re giving them the opportunity to have their opinions heard. This shows that their opinions matter and that you’re open to hearing about their ideas. This may encourage them to share decisions they have to make about school or friends with you as well.
8th Grade Responsible Decision-Making Skills
By continuing to be supportive, actively listening, and being there for your child, you can help them navigate hard choices and prepare for future success.