Making the Move to Middle School

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By Wade Pearce

Middle school can be a challenging time for parents and children alike. The transition marks a time of new expectations and “#increased responsibility. With a few considerations, you can help “#make this a more rewarding time in your family”s life.

Get Organized.
A middle school student will have four or more teachers, each with different requirements. Work with your child to develop a system of organization that is realistic. If your school provides an agenda, discuss how your child will use this tool, and consider ways to organize everything from notes in folders to his or her locker and book bag. As parents, our system of organization may not work perfectly for our kids. Getting your child involved creates buy-in and sets the stage for accountability.

Foster Independence.
Each stage of school is preparation for the next. Middle school requires a delicate balancing act of providing a supportive environment while helping a child become independent. Heavy-handed assistance in schoolwork and constant reminders about deadlines, which may have proven fruitful”#in elementary school, can actually backfire. “#Parenting on either end of the spectrum – “#over-involvement or too little involvement – can lead to a rebellious child or one who is fearful or even ambivalent about going to school.

Provide Relevant Consequences.
As parents, we tend to see the bigger picture. But preaching about the need to do well in order to go to college and get a good job can lead to glazed-over looks. Talk about consequences that matter: not being able to see a friend, having a cell phone taken away or restricting video games. If your child fails to meet the expectation, confidently follow through on the promised consequence. Children who are not used to having to make choices with real consequences may take a little more time, patience and commitment. Once your son or daughter is aware you will not waiver, you should begin to see results.

Get on the Same Page.
In addition to being clear with your child about “#what they can expect at school and at home, it is important to also get on the same page with the school. If your child is struggling, anxious about school or acting out, talk to the school counselor or teachers about what may help your child be more successful. Schools have dealt with a wide range of issues “#children face and may offer helpful suggestions.

Know When to Seek Help.
During this time, children are going through many changes. This can lead to making excuses for your child or believing that their behavior is a phase that will pass. If professionals outside of your family are beginning to point out problem areas with your child, this may be a sign to seek help.# Don”t ignore your instincts. At Eagle Ranch, we often hear parents say, “I knew things had gotten beyond what I could handle. I wish I had called before things got so bad.”# There are many affordable, realistic options that will provide you ideas and tools for parenting as well as help your child make a smoother adjustment.

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