Middle school is a crazy time for transition for your parenting tactics. To keep yourself sane and your relationship with your child intact, you have to change your parenting goals. Elementary years were a time when you set the schedule and you told them what to do A LOT.
But, guess what, that’s gotta change. And it seems like the change comes overnight. You’ll begin to feel the resistance from your daughter or your son with your current parenting strategies. If it’s happened to you already, you know what I’m talking about. If it hasn’t happened to you yet, you’ll know when you get there.
When you feel these parenting shifts, it’s time to reevaluate your parenting goals. Here are six parenting goals that I highly recommend for the middle school years (CREDIT).
- CONNECTION-Write this one at the top of your parenting goals and let it sit there for the rest of your days. Staying connected to your means that you have a relationship with them that allows you to support them, show them love, celebrate their successes, and lament their failures. This is why you have to change your parenting strategies. If you don’t, this connection can be lost.
- RESPONSIBILITY-Yep, it’s time for the big R. Parents, you gotta back off and watch from the sidelines on more and more issues. If you have a difficult time with this, take baby steps. Insist they pack their own lunch, do their own laundry, and check on their own grades. Notice the word “own”. Let them own more and more parts of their life. They may squawk, but they’ll also be proud of themselves and build their confidence.
- EDUCATION-Grades don’t matter yet so it’s a great time to let them flounder a bit. Guide them to create good study habits, to learn what schedule works best for them, and to make the choice once and a while to not study. Let them learn through natural consequences (like a poor grade or reprimand from the teacher). Their middle school GPA is not a part of their college application So let them learn to make mistakes and get back up during these transitional years.
- DISCOVERY-They need the freedom to discover who they are and what they like. Let them try new activities, quit the ones they don’t like, and explore the world.
- INDEPENDENCE- Some kids crave independence and others steer clear. Either way, you have to find ways to allow them to be themselves, independent of you. This isn’t always easy, but it’s part of the long road to young adulthood.
- TRUST-It’s important that your child doesn’t feel as if you don’t trust them, but you also need to do your due diligence as a parent. If they are going to sleep over at someone’s house, talk to the parents. If they have social media accounts, check their content from time to time. If your child says “Why don’t you trust me?” respond with, “I do trust you, but I wouldn’t be doing my job as a parent if I don’t check on you,” For the next several years, your mantra is TRUST BUT VERIFY.