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Helping Your Middle Schooler Cope With Change

teenagers studying togetherThe period between grades 6 through 8 is filled with change for your student. This transition may include mood swings and risk-taking for the young person who is barely a teenager, but is looking forward to being an adult soon. Usually too soon, as far as most parents are concerned.

Because your middle schooler is longing for freedom to make their own choices and looking for independence, they may challenge your authority. Not doing homework until the last minute and generally bending the rules means lots of opportunities for conflict.

Be Positive

Make your conversations positive and avoid words like “should,” “have to” and other controlling language. Avoid pointing out their mistakes for them. Offer lots of praise and encouragement. While giving your child the opportunity to make his or her own mistakes, don’t drop out of the picture. Remain involved and interested.

Help With Self-Knowledge

Help your middle school student gain self-knowledge. Time management and disorganization will require your feedback to help him or her understand individual strengths and weaknesses. Help your child deal with procrastination by structuring homework time in blocks of time with short breaks. Negotiate when frustration begins to set in. Suggest trying to concentrate on an activity for five minutes. This will usually be a jumpstart to getting a large portion of work done.

Use Empathy

Although your patience may be stretched when your middle schooler tests your authority, use empathy instead of lectures. Help him or her schedule relaxation, as well as get plenty of restful sleep, between the many activities on the schedule. The difficulties of adjusting to new academic demands will iron themselves out within a short time. Social pressures and the stress of relationships and dating, along with the changes their own bodies are going through, make this period one of distracting emotions and confusion. But by being a concerned and supportive parent, your middle schooler will be more able to handle these challenges.

Written by: Ruby Holder Moseley, FizzNiche Staff Writer

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