TIPS FOR PARENTS
Your Guide to Surviving the Adolescent Years
The transition from elementary school to middle school can be stressful for students and their parents. Not only are students making a change of schools, but they are also experiencing a transition from childhood to adolescence. Students begin to mature and start to think of themselves as individuals. They begin to seek out opportunities to exercise more independence and build strong peer relationships. It is common for families to experience stress as roles become redefined. The National Middle School Association offers the following tips for parents:
1. The first tip is thinking ahead. One of our best tools as parents is being prepared. As your son or daughter gets to the middle school years, get ready for at least occasional conflicts. Think through what is truly important to you. Is the child’s hairstyle as important as homework? Isn’t curfew more of a concern than crabbiness? Obviously, dawdling is a lot easier to accept than drugs. As these give-and-take situations start, know ahead of time what areas you are willing to negotiate and what areas are absolutes.
2. When reprimanding, deal only with the precise problem, don’t bring in other issues. “The trash is still here, and I want it out now” is better than “You are so lazy! I told you to take that trash out two hours ago and it’s still here! You’d live in a pigsty, wouldn’t you? Well, you aren’t the only one in this house, you know…”
3. If the issue is minor, keep things light. The shoes on the floor, the wet towel on the bed, the carton left open; these are maddening, perhaps, but not earth-shattering. Call attention to them in a humorous way, so your middle-schooler knows you want action but you aren’t being punitive. “Either the cat’s smarter than I thought or you left the milk carton open on the counter. One of you please put it back before it spoils.”4. Don’t use power unless it’s urgent. Parents have the ultimate power, and kids know it. We don’t have to “prove” it to them at every turn. Save your strength for those really important issues you’ve decided are non-negotiable. Eventually kids are going to possess power of their own, and we want them to be able to use it wisely.
5. Check out our webpage at http://brandywineschools.org/springer for additional information.