I will be composing a series of 7 posts about parenting for a class that I am taking. These posts may or may not be of interest to those outside of the course.
My youngest child is 12, and just completing sixth grade. This past year, our school district moved sixth grade back to the elementary schools, so it is next fall that he will be advancing to middle school, by appearance sakes a year behind his sibling.
While I seem to enjoy each new stage of life with my kids more than the one before, I am certain that in my twilight years I will not be looking back longingly at the middle school years.
This is such an awkward time for them, on every level.
Socially, there is nothing but transition after transition.
In elementary school, they are “friends” based on geography. The kids in their neighborhood make up their classes and therefore become their friends. This is the age where that all starts to fall apart. Students begin to break up into cliques, mostly based on their interests and hobbies. This can be especially hard on kids who may not have found their “thing” yet.
As parents, we can only offer our love and support.
Our kids are trying to navigate this trying time with their hormones are running rampant. It was no different for my sons or my daughter. The middle school years are hard. Basic human relationships that they have carried their whole lives become sources of angst. The emotional pendulum swings often and wide.
As parents, we continue to offer our love and support.
Physically, the changes cannot be stated enough. The kids who enter middle school as kids are barely recognizable as they exit middle school as teenagers. The growth is painful (sometimes physically), it is awkward on so many levels.
Parents have no real tools for this, other than love.
They navigate through all of this while still being expected to perform in classes seven hours a day, avoid social hierarchy that can lead to bullying, discovering who they are going to be.
The middle school years are tough. There is no way around them. The best that parents can hope for is to help shepherd their children through this time. They need to know that we are their biggest cheerleader, that we support them no matter what. It will pass, there is hope on the other side, for both us and them.