6 Ways To Redefine Your Parenting As Your Kid Enters Middle School
Middle school is where your child needs to start learning responsibility and independence if they haven’t already. Middle school is a testing ground and trial run for high school. Kids will never go through the natural process of learning to be self-reliant if mom and dad keep treating them like they did in grade school.
- Loosen your grip on their backpack. If you made it a point to teach your kid good organizational skills, you should not have to re-pack their backpack every night after homework. He or she handles putting everything in the proper places. Do a weekly or bi-weekly backpack check in front of them. Check for papers in wrong subject folders, loose forms, etc… and then make them fix it.
- Leave more of the communication to your kid. So, you have a question for your child’s teacher? Perhaps something simple like when is picture money due? Resist the urge to shoot a quick email off. Have your child find out and report back to you the next day.
- Hold them more accountable for forgotten, lost or missing items. Do not run back up to the school so they can get a forgotten book or assignment from their locker. It is their responsibility to remember. If they failed at that responsibility, they must be held accountable to the consequences. Yep, that means your kid might get dinged on an assignment or fail a test.
- No more saving the day. If your son or daughter forgot his or her gym clothes or cello, too bad. Do not, I repeat- do not- run your kid’s forgotten whatever over to the school to save them.
- Stop hovering over homework. Of course, homework should always be completed in a common area, like the kitchen, but you should not be looking over your child’s shoulder the entire time. Allow him or her to make mistakes, discover they made a mistake and figure out how to fix it. They can check their own math homework with a calculator, there is no reason for you to do it!
- Go volunteer elsewhere. As an involved parent, you may have been “room mom” or volunteered in other capacities in your kid’s school. While that’s all well and good in elementary school, cut that out when he or she gets to middle school. Trust me, your kid does not need you in the building. Frankly, he or she shouldn’t want you there.
It’s all part of the natural individualization process. Don’t take it personally. Don’t be scared. Use that time to pamper yourself or learn something new: mani? pedi? massage? spin class? learn to meditate? Use your new found freedom wisely, my friend.
Have you been through the elementary to middle school transition? What advice would you offer others?