Happy day to you and greetings from the UAS Middle School! WOOHOO!!
I hope you enjoy the following informative article that addresses what Middle School (pre-teen) boys need most from their parents. Having raised a son of my own, and after my years of experience as a Middle School Principal, the “research” is very clear: The middle years are a time when your Middle Schooler needs you more than ever. Each of our pre-teens is unique, and develops and matures at a different rate. I hope the information below will inspire you to continue your active participation in their life. Good luck!
By Monica Swanson
Middle School. Just saying the words brings me frightening flashbacks of puberty and pimples. Of insecurity and awkwardness. (not to mention, bad hair and braces.) Really, there may be no more challenging time in life than those middle school years.
Raising four boys of my own, I am keenly aware of all that they go through to transition from boyhood to manhood. Their body, mind, and emotions are changing so quickly, it’s hard to keep up. And parents, here’s what I know: If there is ever a time your son needs your support, it is in their Middle School years.
Your Middle School son may be pulling away more now. He may be telling you that he’s really grown up now, and ready for all kinds of freedoms. He might tell you that his friends get to do this and that and play this and that, and you’re the really lame parent if you don’t do the same. I know, I know. Because, many parents hit the middle school years and then step back. Maybe there is an awkwardness to this new season in their son’s life, or perhaps the parents just get busy or hit burnout, I get that, but pulling away and giving kids too much freedom at this age is premature, and can be extremely dangerous. Sure, you may have taught your kids basic values and morals in their younger years, but now is the time to help them apply it all. Middle School is an ideal time to mentor your son in how to practically work out the character qualities that he learned as a boy. So even if it seems like the other parents are giving freedoms and privileges that you are not, I say to you, Mom and Dad: Don’t feel pressured to do the same. You’re better than that.
You know your son better than anyone, and you can make the call when the time is right. The tricky thing with middle school boys is that there is a huge spectrum of developmental and maturity level among them. You may have a sixth grader who is developmentally still like a fourth grader. On the other hand, you may have an eighth grader who looks and sounds like a seventeen year-old. Things are happening at an inconsistent rate, wildly varying from one young body to the next. And perhaps your greatest job during these years is to study that boy, and determine just where he is on that spectrum. You, the parent, will know the very best where your son is developmentally and maturity-wise, and you must parent him accordingly. Not according to a number (grade or age.) Not according to what his friends are doing. According to what is the very best thing for your son, in the stage he is currently in.
Hitting the middle school years is like getting to half-time of an important game: You may be ahead now, but the game’s not over. Towel-off, get a big drink of water, and then gear up for the second half. You want to finish strong.
To be fair, there are some middle school students who are very mature, responsible and self-directed. But here’s my thing: If they think they are so grown up, give them a chance to prove it.
My parenting MANTRA: WITH FREEDOM COMES RESPONSIBILITY.
You want more freedom? Show me how responsible you are! Whatever maturity level you find your middle school son in, here is list that applies to all:
WHAT EVERY MIDDLE SCHOOL BOY NEEDS MOST FROM HIS PARENTS:
- Love and support: Tons of it.
- Supervision: with ever-so-gradual increasing freedoms.
- Help with friends! Give them guidance and counsel. My favorite quote: “Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.” Meet their friends, and get to know them as well.
- Self-control: Talk about it. What does it look like? How to apply it.
- Lots of communication: Talk to him about growing up. Choices. Girls. Peer pressure. Please get Dad in on this. Talk to him and let him talk to you.
- Activity: Your Middle Schooler is all pent-up with energy, stress, and hormones. Get him moving every single day and it will help tremendously.
- Laughter: He may not have a fully matured sense of humor yet, but he is getting there. Laugh with your son and enjoy him.
- Hugs and touch: Mom AND Dad – he needs these from both of you.
- Healthy food: A Middle Schooler is old enough to understand that his food choices will affect his health, his acne, and his moods. Try hard to have healthy food at home, and help him make good choices when he is not home.
- Positive place to hang out: Middle Schoolers begin to crave fitting in and hanging out somewhere besides just at home. Find a good after school program, sports team, or club. Not just hanging out down the street, at the skate park or beach, but give them opportunities to connect with good people in good places.
- Tons of encouragement. “You are growing into such an amazing young man!” “Wow, look at your muscles!” “I’m so proud of WHO you are becoming.” “You are making really good choices!” Etc etc etc. Do not hold back on encouragement!
Middle School can be awkward, and challenging, and with your son, you will encounter moods swinging and hormones cranking. It can also be a positive time, as kids gain self-confidence and maturity. Be involved in your kids’ lives to make these the best years possible!
Important Dates and Activities:
January 16: MS Principals Coffee – 7:45 AM. During this informative presentation parents will learn more about the great work being done within the UAS Middle School Arabic Department. This parent session will be hosted by Mr. Mahmoud, the UAS Head of the Arabic Department, and Mr. Wasel, the Head of the Middle School Arabic Department. These dedicated gentlemen will outline the work being done by the entire Arabic team to raise the level of Arabic within the Middle School. In addition, the Arabic course outline will be shared, resources will be made available, and questions will be encouraged.
January 18: MS Band and Choir Concert – 6:30 PM in the MPH:
January 19: MS Counselors Coffee – 7:45 AM
January 26: Last day of quarter 2/semester 1
January 29: Frist day of quarter 3/semester 2
February 2: MS/HS Sports Day
February 9: MS/HS report cards are posted to the Portal.
That’s the news from your neighbors in the middle. Here’s hoping our paths cross soon and very soon. Please take good care, and please remember, Middle School matters!! May peace be upon you.