• What you need to know about middle school kids....

    1. What do parents need to know to understand middle school aged children?
      1. They crave structure, but push against it.  Middle school kids need routines and consistency in order to be able to function. Their minds and bodies are going through so much change that it is necessary to provide as much external consistency as possible so that they can manage the changes in hormones, moving toward abstract thinking, and physical growth. Imagine building walls made of rubber around them.
      2. Middle school aged kids need to feel a sense of independence and a safety net at the same time. They want to step out and take risks and responsibility, but they also want to know that someone is there if they trip.  They need to be able to make mistakes and learn from them, but not be harmed forever by them.
      3. They don’t think before they act.  Impulsivity and peer approval are driving motivations for their actions more than anything else.


    1. What do parents need to know to handle discipline with middle school aged children?
      1. Be consistent with what you say and do.  If you threaten something and then do not follow through, you have given up your authority.  Only say it if you mean it. 
      2. You are not their friend and they don’t need you to be their friend.  They want a parent who will set boundaries, be firm, and be clear.  Every middle school aged child hates their parents and loves their parents in alternating patterns for all of middle school.  Expect it, embrace it, and remember to be the parent.
      3. Middle school aged children can rationalize things, but they are not necessarily rational.  They need explanations and the why behind things, but they will argue if it doesn’t square with what they want, even if your way makes sense.
      4. Always get to know your kids friends. Know who they talk to on the phone with, check their text messages, check their MySpace and Facebook accounts, invite their friends to the house to hang out with you so you can meet them, visit school and eat lunch with your kid and his/her friends. Be aware and do the work to know who your kids are with at all times.  However, be wary that you don’t judge the friends until you get to know them.  Just because they dress or talk differently doesn’t necessarily mean they are bad influences.  Remember, friends and peer approval are more important to a middle school kid than anything else.


    1. What do parents need to know to build partnership in learning and socially with their school?
      1. Parents need to be in touch with their child’s teachers and track their grades and behavior. Make full use of the tools that Infinite Campus and email provide.  If you child knows that you and the teacher are on the same page, then they will be more successful. Get to know the teachers at the beginning of the year and push for continued contact throughout the year.
      2. Make your child bring their work home for you to see every night, even if they don’t have any homework.  Kids will do much better if they know you are checking to make sure they did work and did it well.
      3. Check the website often for the school your child attends. Know what is going on, whether there is really a dance or a home football game.  Your child needs to participate in after school events, either as a fan or as a team member.