Entering middle school is a big transition. It’s a different “jungle” from elementary, so it’s uncharted territory for your tween. That’s why it’s not surprising that they will have anxieties leading up to their first day. It’s important to sit down with them and talk through their concerns. Here are some of the questions that you can expect from your tween:
“Is middle school difficult?”
Your kids are moving up to another grade level, so they have a pretty rough idea already that there are new challenges that come with it. What they need to know is how severe the problems will be. More importantly, they need reassurance that they can pull it off. You should be able to explain to your child that middle school comes with a lot more homework and teachers expecting their students to be more responsible in keeping up with the lessons.
Despite the heavier academic pressure though, tell your child that they can succeed. The key is to stay organized. Teach your child file organization and time management so that they can be on top of their tasks and activities. Consult their teachers now and then for updates. The middle schools in Salt Lake City have educators who partner closely with parents in nurturing children’s academic skills. If you’re still considering where to send your kid, they can be one of your choices.
“Will I have friends?”
Tweens are conscious of their social networks. The thing about middle school is that there’s a culture of meanness in social circles. For sure, you’re not unaware of the mean girls, the bullies, and the presence of peer pressure. You have to prepare your child for these nasty realities. One of the most effective (yet most difficult) ways to help kids navigate complex relationships in middle school is to build their self-esteem. When they have a solid sense of self, they develop unshaken confidence, accept their limitations and weaknesses willingly, and more importantly, seek healthy relationships that let them grow as a person. Thus, be generous with compliments. Support their interests and talents, encouraging them to decide for themselves.
“Is dating okay?”
Some variations of this are “What if I like someone in class?” and “Will I ever go on a date?”. Don’t be surprised if these come up. Your child is growing up, and so it’s natural for them to think of crushes and dating. Middle school is the usually the ground where children explore romantic relationships, so before they step into it, you already have to lay down what you expect. Tell them the things that you and your spouse allow in dating. Explain to them what a healthy relationship looks like. Open lines of communication about sensitive subjects, like sex and intimacy.
In the end, middle school is an entirely new environment for your child. With that in mind, you should be prepared for their questions. Better yet, initiate the talk to ease their concerns. Do your best to support your child in this big transition.