The middle school years. We’ve all been there, and I don’t know many who would return to that time of their life. Raging hormones, acne, peer pressure and a new school environment, including no more recess, having to remember a locker combination, completely changing classes every hour. It’s a lot!
This is a tough age. Middle Schoolers are trapped in bodies that are torn between childhood and adulthood. Some days they just can’t handle all of the emotions that come with that.
So, how do we parent them well?
Remember what it was like to be their age and then imagine what it would be like to live in today’s world at that age. The raging social issues and the overuse of social media take it to a whole other level. Being aware of these things brings a different level of understanding to their behaviors.
Be the parent. They don’t need you to be their friend, they need you to be their parent. Be thankful for this gift and cautious with the responsibility. Provide boundaries, which makes them feel safe. Show constant acceptance in your home, which makes them feel valued. Give discipline when needed, which makes them feel loved.
Find outside role models. You will always be the most important influence in their life, but at this age, it helps to have someone else saying the exact same thing you’re saying in a different way. Find voices that you trust and ask them to be a part of your child’s life.
The church youth group is the easiest and best place to find voices you can trust. They can partner with you to help you through these challenging years. You take your child to the dentist, you take them to the doctor, so make sure you take them to church. This has eternal value.
Let them grow up. These years were created to get them ready for adulthood. They need you to guide them into being the kind of adult that society needs and they need you to trust them to be adults one day.
Pray for them every day. Your child needs your daily prayers. It’s the most important thing you can do for them. Thank God for them and then pray for their spiritual health, mental health, physical health, provision for all of their needs and then pray that they will love and serve the Lord. God loves our children more than we do. What better partner is there in life to help raise them?
Middle school years don’t last forever. Realizing this helps you cherish the good days and helps you make it through the tough ones. The days can be long, but the years are short, so love who your child is today. Don’t mourn yesterday or long for tomorrow and miss today. You’ve got this!
Director of Never The Same Camp