Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Transitioning Your Child to Middle School

If your child is entering middle school this year, your parenting skills may need a tune-up for the many miles ahead. Focus on appreciating this season, listening well, and getting to know the many friends that will be a part of your child’s life.

Appreciate the change. Your child is growing on three fronts: physically, emotionally, and socially. Your parenting style needs to adapt in order to accommodate those changes. Can you keep up? “Middle school students are changing at an extremely rapid pace,” notes Brandon James, a former Middle School Minister now serving as a missionary in the Dominican Republic. “It’s important for parents to familiarize themselves with the adolescent stage.”

Physically. Middlers are excited about the physical transformations they are experiencing, yet these can be embarrassing, as well. This is a season of comparison as they measure their outward appearance and body development from the yardstick of their peers.

Emotionally. On their way to becoming adults, middlers long for independence yet still appreciate parent-imposed boundaries. Some kids seem to race toward the status that accompanies growing up. Others may lag behind, content with the last remnants of childhood.

Socially. “One of the biggest issues facing this age group is fitting in. In the past they were friends with whoever they were around. Now they choose friends based on their likes and dislikes,” says James. As they develop deeper friendships, middlers may put some distance between themselves and their parents. Staying connected might not be as easy as it used to be.

Tomorrow: Tips for Staying Connected with your Middle Schooler!

Stay connected with me when you follow me on Twitter! And for even more information on middle schoolers, check out my book, Season of Change!


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