Ah, the in-between years. Help your tween shine in middle school using these simple, yet effective tips.
Being a tween in middle school is pretty tough. I am not sure if you remember your junior high school years—mine was full of drama, insecurity, and a multitude of changes. Now that my own daughter is entering 7th grade, I am reminded of the angst and moodiness sometimes this age can invoke.
During the in-between stage—not quite a little child, but not yet a teenager—the blurred lines can often be cumbersome and a trifle heavy for their shoulders to bare. But, we mustn’t fret. As parents, we can help them navigate this unsure time. I am sharing 8 tips to help your tween shine in middle school that you can apply right away so they can have the best school-year yet.
Let them celebrate their individuality
This is the time where your child is finding out about who they are and what they really like. They may want to push the boundaries by perhaps showcasing their own individual style and way of doing things. For my daughter, her individuality is being shown with her hair. A lover of the color purple, she is rocking a purple streak in the front if her hair. She’s been advocating for this for over a year, and I finally relented. Not a permanent color nor chemicals, I’ve allowed her to use a temporary color spray. Having purple hair is her way of saying to the world, “this is who I am” as she is separating herself from the norm.
Don’t stifle their individuality. Let them flourish in it, as long as it doesn’t break any rules or hurt others.
Remind them of their talents
In order to help your tween shine, you must supply them with encouragement and positivity. Remind them of what they are good at and foster their strengths and gifts. Whenever I hear my daughter talk about something she isn’t good at, I remind her of the dozens of other things she does well. This helps her with her self-esteem and goes a long way to help keep her focused.
Be active and present
Studies show that tweens with involved parents tend to do better in school. When you are proactive in their education, they will see firsthand the importance of doing well in school and being involved, too. Attend meetings, open houses, parent conference nights, and volunteer if you can. The stock you pay with your time with benefit your tween (and your school and community) tenfold.
Encourage them to journal
Your tween probably has so many emotions running rampant. One way you can help them is to buy them a journal and encourage them to write in it. With this outlet, they have a positive place to store and share these feelings, which can act as a positive release.
Sometimes when my daughter has something to tell me and she is shy or embarrassed, she writes it down in her journal and leaves it on her bed, and I reply to her in it so she can read it later. It’s an awesome bonding tool, too.
Say NO to being their friend
There are plenty of experts who proclaim the importance of being your child’s friend, but I am not a part of that faction. During this time, your tween needs you more than ever—as a parent. Put your foot down, create rules and follow through with repercussions of breaking them. They have friends—your role is as a mother, father, and/or guardian.
Being an active listener to your tween will go a long way, not only for them, but for your relationship. Don’t just talk, hear what they are saying. Try to understand, then work with your child to help them problem solve. This can help them also advocate for themselves and for their needs in school and amongst their peers.
Give a little independence
Allow them some independence, a little more than they were given in grade school. I allow my daughter to make her own lunch and to pick out her own clothing (something I didn’t do when she was in fifth grade). I now follow her in my car and wait for the bus stop, allowing her to walk with her friends. It’s this little independence that goes a long way to building up their confidence.
When your tween makes a mistake, turn it into a teachable moment. Don’t berate them—talk to them in words they understand and allow them to make the mistake an opportunity to grow.
There are thousands of ways that you can help your tween shine in middle school, but these 8 tips can go a long way in assisting in the positive growth and development of your child.
Here’s to a great school year!