Our children need to learn that not everything in life is going to be fair because we are not all the same. Instead of defining the differences and explaining how things are not always fair, show your children that fair is defined by who we are and what we need. Therefore, find ways to celebrate what is unique about each other instead of comparing ourselves to siblings or others. Teaching our children to celebrate their own strengths is important to building their self-awareness, self-esteem, and confidence. Therefore, take some time to distribute fairness in your home by celebrating what makes each of you uniquely wonderful.
Play often begins to dwindle in the middle school years, as children mature and take on more responsibilities in other things. However, play is one of the best ways to build resilience. Play encourages creativity, problem solving, critical thinking, and improves outlook. However, it also affects the health of a child. It can decrease negative thought, improve self-talk and image, and improve the immune system through healthy interactions and laughter. Therefore, as parents, we should encourage our middle schoolers to play.
Respect. This word is often the character trait most people think can improve at home, school and within the community. There are a lot of opinions about what respect looks and sounds like. So, create a Family of Respect Checklist with your children about what respect looks and sounds like in your home. Consider their ideas and ensure everyone knows what it means to be respectful. Once you have completed the checklist you can laminate it or put it in a sheet protector and use wet erase markers to check yourselves in the respect you are demonstrating each day. Hang it in a prominent place in your home and use this checklist when your child needs reminded about what it means to be respectful.
Perspective is powerful so consider having your child interview different citizens within your family and community. Then have them share what they learned about the meaning of citizenship from the different minds and experiences of those around them. This could be a fun way to create a family blog or vlog based on their learning, and/or host a family share night when your child can report out all the wonderful things he or she learned in the process.
Middle schoolers want more freedom and want to exert their personality and independence. So, as a parent it is important to coach them through this new phase with opportunities to build trust, take ownership and responsibility for their choices and consequences, and to demonstrate some autonomous decisions. However, it is also our duty to protect them from some of the decisions that are still too big for them to make on their own. So, think about creating some harmony in the decision-making process, and relinquishing some control to allow them to build autonomy and independence.
Volunteering is a fantastic way to teach responsibility to your children. There are a lot of opportunities in most communities, for your child to get involved. Discuss the options as a family and try finding something that your child is interested or passionate about, as this can create even more incentive to volunteer.
It is hard to be a tween / teenager today. There are a lot of pressures and negativity that adolescents must manage. The amount of stress students face today can negatively impact their health and their attitude. Thus, as parents it is important to act as positivity guides and help them to battle the noise of the world with some healthy methods. Positivity has a lot of power and can fuel healthy bodies. Research shows that it does not take a complete change in the situation to affect the body. So, here are some healthy suggestions to provide a dose of healthy, healing and positive properties to your child’s life.
Teaching our children to persevere can be one of the most important parts of our job as parents. So, finding ways to capitalize on events in their lives that can promote perseverance is vital to their growth in this area. One way to do this is to get them involved in a sport or activity. Learning the new skills needed to progress in an activity can provide opportunities to encourage them through failure and setbacks.
Learning is a lifelong process; therefore, it should be something our children see us doing as adults daily as well. So, as a family consider the 4CS of learning in your own home, Creativity, Collaboration, Communication, and Critical Thinking. Utilize the suggestions below to help your entire family embrace the 4Cs of Learning.
One of the hardest transitions from elementary to middle school, is the change in friendships that can occur. Going from playdates arranged by parents to a diverse pool of unfamiliar faces can be hard for some to adjust to. The emotions and hormonal changes alone will affect your adolescent child’s understanding of relationships. Middle schoolers will experience changing and complex sets of relationship rules and will form new boundaries. Thus, there will be a new term that may enter your home this year, “Frenemies.” This is when friends seem to morph into enemies, and your child will be confused and saddened by this change in the relationship.