The Roller-Coaster Years: Raising Your Child Through the Maddening Yet Magical Middle School Years by Charlene C. Giannetti and Margaret Sagarese
Getting a View from the Ferris Wheel Imagine for a moment what life is like for children ages 10-15 today… “The biggest challenge in dealing with this age group is their roller-coaster emotions.” (Middle School teacher from Washington)
Adolescents today… • Yearn for independence, yet are still being told what to do • Eager to voice opinions but have trouble forming coherent arguments • Worry about their appearance just when nature is wreaking havoc on their bodies • Worry about their school work just when it increases in workload and responsibilities • Maintain a hectic schedule with school, sports, and extracurricular activities, when their bodies need more sleep
Parents, Don’t Be Fooled Do you feel your adolescent child… • Needs parents less than younger children? • Needs to be left alone to become independent? • Cares more about what their peers think than parents? • Does not want you in their personal lives?
Young Adolescents need Parents More not Less Parents, when your child says, “Leave me alone,” take another look… What your child may be trying to say is, “I want more privacy than you are giving me now. But don’t go too far. I might need you later.”
Are You Spending Enough Time with Your Middler? According to a 1995 New York Times Poll: • 93% of 9-12 year olds consider being a part of a loving family more important than owning material things • 88% credit family as their greatest source of self-esteem • 72% wanted to talk more to their parents about schoolwork
Middlers are Funny… “My son or daughter fun? Are we talking about the same kid?” Middlers are really three children: • The one who behaves as your child • The one who shares with other adults things they won’t share with you • The one who hangs out with other kids
Suggestions for living with a developing Middler… Leave them in charge Encourage their enthusiasm Assist them in finding ways to help others Feed their intellectual growth Build a bridge from home to school Ease the transition from childhood to adulthood Teach correct social behavior
Develop the Art of Adolescent Affection Find a moment each day to show your middle school child how much you love them. • Write notes • Leave voice mail • Tell them when you see them • Give hugs, especially after you have punished them
Am I Normal? • When Middlers look in the mirror, they see distorted images • Supersensitive about their bodies • Increased weight 20-30 pounds-10 pounds a year • All parts of the body don’t grow at the same time or rate • Feel as though they have been invaded by a body snatcher • There is NO Normal!
Help them manage worry • 98% of worry is wasted • 40% of worry time focuses on things that never happened • 15% of fretting wasted on things that turn out better than they expected • 35% lost on things that can’t be changed • 80% revolves around petty insignificant items
Battle for Independence • Issue is control-YOU have it THEY want it! • It’s not FAIR! Nobody listens to us! • World is overrun with rules, regulations, and restrictions
Incorporate the three R’s: Reward, Recognize, and be Rational • Reward good behavior • Recognize which discipline efforts work most effectively • Consistent-Punish each time • Appropriate-Let the punishment fit the crime • Results-Make it results oriented • Each- They are individuals • Swift- Don’t put off the punishment until later • Rational – Time yourself out when you are losing it.
As you encounter the battle campaigns of the Middlers, make sure you don’t win the short term battles and lose the war by forfeiting their affections. It is not easy being a parent.
What should I expect? • A temporary lag in homework or disappointing grade here and there is to be expected during this time • If you see dramatic changes in performance and it continues to slide then you may have a red flag indicating a problems
Do you find your Middler to be Disorganized? • Constantly forgets things • Messy room • Constantly loses things • Underestimates the amount of time to complete a task • Does homework but fails to turn it in • Seems oblivious of time
What can I do to help with Disorganization? • Arrange a good place to work • Use the Agenda • Make lists • Use visual and verbal reminders • Use an oven timer • Break up large tasks into smaller ones • Back up written assignments if they are often lost • Clean out the backpack weekly • Set a good example • Prepare the night before
Master “Middler-Speak” • “Fine” • “Nothing” • “I don’t know”
Helping your Middler succeed in school “A good parent’s involvement is always welcomed when it leads to a partnership among parent, child, and teacher.” (Middle school teacher)
Grades alone do not define a successful adolescent • Brains grow at different rates • Doing well in school may be eclipsed by popularity • Discover the opposite sex • Complicated times to grow up
How can I help my Middler succeed in school? • Stay informed • Prepare your child for learning • Maintain high expectations • Nurture your learner • Make learning a multimedia experience • Keep criticism of teachers and school to a minimum
Parents should be seen and not heard (at least in a Middler’s presence) • Cheerleader • Chauffeur • Chaperone • Committee Member • Resource • Volunteer • Club sponsor or assistant
Stay informed and help keep us informed! • School newsletter • Electronic Weekly News • PTA and SICA • Agenda • School Calendar • E-mail and phone calls
Want a copy of this presentation? • E-mail email@example.com an electronic copy (PowerPoint) • Call 292-7688 and request a hard copy if you do not have access at home – be sure to include your child’s name and homeroom teacher’s name