Facing Middle School Together

How to Support your Child
through this transition

At Decade2Connect, a number of our participants are in the process of transitioning from elementary school to middle school. And although any transition back to school can be difficult, there is a more drastic shift into middle school. 

Students likely transition from being the oldest in their school to the youngest and with that comes added pressures and responsibilities. Homework increases, expectations increase and suddenly, performance becomes a little more important. Along with these external changes, this is the age when adolescents begin developing, which brings its own set of challenges. 

It’s likely we all look back on our Middle School years with some sort of regret or cringe. So as you empathize with the transition your child’s making, let’s look at some ways you can best support them:

Open Communication

Your child could begin to process the transition they’re facing months prior or on the first day of school. In the time leading up to the first day of school and beyond, be cognizant of the feelings your child may be experiencing. Create a safe space where they can express and process through any intense thoughts and feelings. Listen actively without judgment and be available to talk them through this transition.

Practice Empathy

Middle school brings about physical, emotional, and social changes. Be prepared for mood swings, heightened self-awareness, and even changes in friendships. Remember their behavior towards you isn’t intentional as the intensity of these changes, both in the mind, body and social setting, can be overwhelming.

Create a Smooth Transition

Your child may not be aware of the changes awaiting them and you can help by gradually preparing them for what’s to come. Preemptively integrate them into their new routine in ways such as: taking advantage of opportunities to meet their new teachers and peers, bringing them to check out their new school, engaging them in extracurriculars they’ll enjoy and discussing the realities of development to come. 

Encourage their Individuality

One of the greatest tools we have in new experiences is our self-confidence. Although this transition may be a scary one, encourage your child that who they are is unchanging. Call out the strongest parts of who they are: their character, their strengths and their individual interests. Entering into Middle School can often lead to a bit of an identity crisis and while it is a time of discovering new things about themselves, champion everything that makes their child who they are.

This transition will be complex not just for your child but for you as well! There may be a sadness that comes with realizing your child is growing up so quickly so it’s important to give yourself space as well to feel the emotions that come up. Ultimately, the best gift you can give your child is your love. Whatever emotions or circumstances come up, simply be there.

Be a safe place for them to run to when the world around them is changing. With your love and support, your child will not only survive middle school but also emerge from it stronger, more confident and ready to face the challenges of high school and beyond. For more support, connect with Decade2Connect today!

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