So now the saga begins. Your pre-teen/teen is in middle school, and you are certain the aliens have taken over the brain of your child. Most days, you hope to survive the experience. If you talk to parents of students who are now past the middle school age, you will find they all made it through. Over the next three years you will see changes that both impress and disturb you. Take one day at a time and practice lots of deep breathing.
One way to experience success is to be involved with your child’s education, but allow some independence. It is ok to ask questions of your student regarding their day, their friends, and their activities. It’s your kid. You should want to know who your child is spending time with. If they are spending the night at someone’s house, it is quite fine to ask to talk to their parents. That’s a safety issue as well as a trust issue. As your student makes appropriate choices, you will find you will be able to allow them more independence. Remember, they can get their driver’s license in a few years. You want to be able to trust them now. Remind them of this so they can understand that building trust will help their lives later! It’s also ok to allow them to make mistakes. Ideally, we learn from our mistakes, and some lessons are learned the hard way. Try not to be an overbearing parent who freaks out over every little thing. The calmer you are in situations, the more likely your student will willingly want to talk to you about what they do.
There may be times you will find that all you see or hear is negative details about your child. Try to find some positive things in every situation. Don’t hesitate to praise your child even for the smallest thing. If all they hear is negative from you, they may feel defeated. One of the hardest lessons to learn is that your child is NOT perfect. They are going to make mistakes. When they are down, help support them. Remind them that you love them unconditionally. You don’t have to condone their actions but make sure they know they can count on you, whatever the situation.
At Harriman Middle School, every teacher has a website as well as a direct link to e-mail them. The teachers are required to put their lesson plans on their website every Monday for the entire week. You can know if there are test/quizzes/projects coming up. Many teachers also allow ways for extra credit or bonus points throughout the nine weeks grading period. They will post this information on their website. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to email the teacher. They are required to respond within 24 hours and will be happy to assist you. Also provide a place and time for them to work on their homework. At this age, students find they either need a quiet place without distractions or they prefer being able to listen to music while working.
And lastly (taken from a friend)…If you promise not to believe everything they say about us, we promise not to believe everything they say about you! Remember there are two sides to every story. Make sure you get both sides before deciding to get angry. We make mistakes, too. So please be understanding when that happens.