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Middle School Blues

Spend More Time Together

Dad Cooking With Kids - Fathers 4 Kids

Are any of your kids in Middle School and have started acting out or becoming distant? At ages 11 to 14 changes are going to happen.  One could say they may have the Middle School Blues?  Transition can be a tough time for kids and parents alike. Used to be, being a teenager was an exciting time for everyone and parents were able to cope. Today, the most important thing as parents we must do and that is to remain connected to our kids and be able to continue to provide them the love and support they still need. For most kids, that attitude begins to creep in it's not cool to have parents hanging out with you or you even doing stuff together. Rising expectations in academics to perform for college and personal responsibility are often a source of all kinds of new challenges both have never had before.

Changes that will take place during this time mean height, voice, skin, hair, and how kids relate to us are all totally changed  as kids move into their teens. Hormonal changes may be the most difficult to handle, but how you react in teaching them to cope must change for the family unit to survive. It is always going to be a positive option if you intend for your kids to make family important day after day.

Here are some ideas presented to you that will assist you in coping in these changes in your children. Continuing to remain a solid positive influence in their lives and not alienate them can be fun.

Cooking Together - Eating is a must for all life. The skill of learning to prepare food to sustain life has to be passed on. The kids favorite recipes can be a start in this process. Since it's easy to make mistakes it's easier to teach them to work through how to solve the problems of preparing something they can eat, enjoy and cook again. Monthly, weekly, or designated meals they will prepare with basic recipes you have taught them as a team can grow your relationship and teach about their ability to learn as well as take responsiblity at the same time.

Start a Book Club - Learning to enjoy reading, studying and breaking down learning many subjects must be learned. It isn't a skill they just not do. As they progress in school, college, and choosing a career path requires learning of some kind. Whether it be online, a Kindle, or a book they must purchase; all 3 options will be a part of their lives from this time forward. Teaching your kids how to find what they are interested in will go a long way in teaching about life, morals, and values and will go a long way to learning how to converse, articulate thoughts, and in general how to glean from any mode of reading things that are important.

Family Trips - Include kids in the planning of a specific location for a trip. Discussions on what options are on the table about places to visit, how to get there, and the budget you have as a family to take said trip includes their desires. Allow your kids to make many of the new decisions and help them get excited about making those decisions, as well as planning, and reaching the destinition they have chosen. It's a family event, not just them tagging along with a decision they had no part in making.

Serving Others Through Activities - One of the most popular ways kids learn is in serving others. Young people can provide services according to their respective abilities in service activities. Community oriented projects also provides benefits that include satisfaction of giving back and helps them learn responsibility, take initiative in meeting goals, and promotes feelings their efforts in the world can make a difference. This in turn will have a huge impact on the self-esteem of any young person and also boost leadership skills and a healthy work ethic. Remember things like babysitting, mowing lawns, delivering papers may or may not be options these days.

Child Allowances - Do you children have their own money? See to it they have some, but encourage them to earn it. Household chores divided up between each family member is a great way to teach about accountability and responsibility in the home. Each family member must learn different chores; and earning money will set the stage for getting and keeping later on in life. Teaching your kids how to do a good job in cleaning, taking out the trash, making their beds, cleaning out their rooms, cooking, taking care of a pet are all important. Trust goes a long way in showing a parent that a child can do a great job, as well as teaching the parent how to teach their kids the right way.

Encourage A Family Journal - If you had a diary growing up, then you know what that means. A place to share everything. Open honest communication. Plain and Simple. Writing back and forth to each other may help open more and more dialogue by being able to say what you mean. Honest writing can and usually does with guidelines; mean a lot to each child. Privacy is also a big deal at this age, and having a family journal for each child means they learn more daily about face to face communication and discussions. It can continue well into their teens and beyond. If they marry and move away, they already know how to write letters. While many would say it's a lost art, it can be something special they only have with you all their life. Love Your Kids! 

"Engaging your middle schooler and allowing him or her to express an area of interest is a worthwhile task. Have fun and enjoy your child where he is in his life now! The middle school years won’t last forever, but our nurtured connections will lay the groundwork for a lifetime of happily shared experiences." Think about that and all that it means. None of us are born as great parents; it is nurtered with time on both parties as each grows. Give your relationships inside the family time to grow.

This summary article was written by Sara Marchessault, and appeared in DFWChild this month for your edification as a parent. Sara is the former owner of a summer camp for middle school girls. She has spent many hours getting to know middle school girls, listening to their dreams and their fears, and encouraging them that their parents are not really the enemy. When she isn’t playing with her own kids, Sara is a writer, professor, and coach.



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