Moving from elementary school to middle school is hard for anyone. Your middle schooler may feel overwhelmed, anxious and even scared to walk the halls of middle school. Depending on the setting, they could be in a new building. They could be with other kids they have not met yet. And, they could be the youngest around after being the oldest in their former school. When it comes time to make the move, be sure you are doing all you can to help them adjust.
The most common words you will hear from your middle schooler will start with the word "no." This is normal and to be expected. The fact is, middle school is also a time when you start to explore yourself, forging your own way and getting to do things on your own, without mom and dad to help you through. When you ask your child if they would like your help, and they tell you no, realize this is a good sign. They are trying to work through their problems on their own, which should be a sign of good intentions.
On the other hand, you may hear a change in the discipline of your child during the middle school years. They may be more willing to talk back and may question your authority. Realize that this too is a sign of being independent and do not take it to heart. Most parents will still want to enforce the rules, as a family you should not feel that changes are necessary for your middle school kid.
It Isn't Just The Building
There are many other changes happening for your middle school kid, too that have nothing to do with the school itself. Suddenly, boys are cute and girls look pretty. And, of course, puberty is in full swing, which means lots of raging hormones and misunderstood topics. You can help your child through these situations by simply being informative but not pushy. Ensure they have had the opportunity talk with you about puberty and that you have answered their questions. Give them guidance when you can without being too over the top about it. The fact is, your child will feel embarrassed and if you push them too far, you could push them away.
For many boys, puberty brings on more aggression and anger. This often happens at school. If you find your child is acting out more, realize that it may be normal, but that does not mean it is allowable. Talk with your school about potential problems and get them under control. Middle schoolers do need guidance and often need more reassurance of the rules than kids younger than them.
School itself will change for your middle school child, too. A variety of school issues change too. Here are some things to prepare your child for leading up to middle school.
Moving into middle school can be a lot of fun, too. Your children are going to meet new people and start growing into their own people. You may find this a good time for bounding, but more than likely your child will want more freedom to do the things that interest them. They may want to go to the mall with friends or meet their friends at the arcade. Realize that all of your hard work in talking to them and teaching them over the last few years is going to come into play now. In most cases, they will enjoy being a middle schooler, and you may enjoy them, too.
To help with the transition, check out these Social Emotional Learning resources:
10 SEL Prompts to boost Confidence
Growth Mindset Worksheet
Emotional Resilience and Courage Lesson with Reflection Questions
HEART SEL Education strives to promote social-emotional learning to improve the emotional, social and mental health of the next generation of youth! Our blog articles help educate on a number of topics related to SEL, education, school counseling, parenting, homeschooling, and more!