Communicating with Your Middle Schooler

All the horror stories you’ve heard are true. The names have not been changed to protect the innocent because there are none. Your child is in middle school, the time in every person’s life when the hormones rage, the drama is second only to the weekday line up, and sweet little boys and girls become lurching teenagers.

There will be times when you wonder where your child went. Believe me, he’s still there it’s just that he’s going through life and life is difficult. Like a battle wounded soldier your child will seem impossible. What you say to them will seem like it’s not getting through, but you can’t give up. The lessons and the lectures take time to find their way through the music, media, & messages that fill their heads everyday. However, your sane words will surface if they are matched with endless persistence and a staunch resolve to win the war for your child. He or she wants to listen to someone and find direction. Much of the struggle you engage in with them is their effort to determine what is best. Show them that it is your love and wisdom that can get them through life.

Three ideas to make these years simpler:

1. Be available to talk. Sitting in a chair reading or drinking coffee with an open seat next to you is a great posture.

2. Carefully invite them to speak. Kids hate being drilled with questions. They’ll shut down if this starts, so invite them. “Tell me about your day” is better than “What happened today.” The first allows them to share whatever they like. The second sets you up to get the answer of “nothing.”

3. Listen and don’t be quick to offer advice. They want to figure things out on their own and as long as they are safe in doing so, help them find their own answers.

HINT: If past experiences have been negative, they may still be hesitant, but be patient and show them you want to communicate.