A whole new world!! ….(think Aladdin circa 1990’s) Yup, we’ve moved into Middle-School territory and it is definitely a whole new world. Not a bad world, maybe just an alien-like territory, where I don’t speak the language. 🙂
It all began when my middle schooler started his new school. I volunteered to help in the lunchroom one day. I was so excited to see him and meet his friends. Yeah, it didn’t go the way I had imagined. To start off, he didn’t even speak to me! I realized quickly that I was not going to meet his friends. Crushed this momma’s heart, it did! I’ve tried to explain to him that all the kids have parents or guardians, they aren’t raised in a vegetable patch, so having a mom is nothing to be embarrassed about! hmmm….
Planet Middle School to the rescue! This book has been a lifesaver, offering such practical advice such as, “Don’t ask how their day was.” (I disagreed with this, until I was tired of hearing the grunt, “good.”) Then, I decided to follow Dr. Leman’s advice and wait for him to crawl out of his cave and talk. I learned, he needed a little transitional time from school to home. My badgering him with questions wasn’t helping. Once we got home and he had a cookie in his belly, he generally began chattering away about everything that happened that day. #bigwin
If you want to keep your lines of communication open, you’ve got to realize where your middle-schooler is coming from and what is happening in their bodies and their minds. I’ve seen how many wonderful families’ communications and relationships get hijacked when a child hits middle-school. I really believe it’s because they are changing physically and emotionally. They are under much more pressure to fit in, to succeed in school, and to organize themselves. There is no more hand-holding. That’s a lot of change for a pre-teen.
One thing we have started asking in our family meeting is, “What is stressful for you right now?” It opens your eyes to things that they are dealing with. Next, show them empathy, “Wow, that must be really tough. Is there anything I can do to help?” Sometimes they need/want help and sometimes they don’t. Be okay with their choice.
I can’t recommend this book enough for parents of middle schoolers or teens. Here are just a few of the things this book covers:
Their budding sexuality, understanding it and talking to them about it. Ignoring that it is happening isn’t helpful to anyone. It’s just selfish on our part.
How to (& why we should) monitor their electronics for bullying/inappropriate content/porn.
How to help your child though peer pressure & emotional drama.
How to identify if your child is at risk.
Turning Middle-School into a positive time where you can coach them to be givers, full of gratitude and able to meet high expectations.
You are going to love this book! Dr. Kevin Leman is a father, a seasoned psychologist and a Christian. He’s funny, too. The book is filled with tons of real-life examples from his years of counseling. I just can’t recommend this book highly enough. If you want to keep a healthy relationship with your child, you can’t continue to parent them the way you parented them as a toddler. But, you can help them feel accepted and competent as they stretch their wings towards adulthood.
Blessings as you enter your whole new world! It can be a good one!
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