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Surviving the Pre-Teen Years

What Happened to My Sweet Angel?!

The middle school years can be tough on you, your child, and your relationship because your child is going through physiological and mental changes that often result in more defiant behaviors. This is normal! The following are some tips for how to get through it.

Don’t Expect the Worst

Focussing on negatives often leads to negative outcomes. Keep talking with your child about the positive things in their life like their healthy interests, healthy friendships, and passions (even if you don’t understand them). This will help keep the lines of communication open in later years.

Beware of Parenting Books

Seeking advice in a difficult time is smart, but don’t sell your instincts short. An alternate perspective can give you new ideas but value what your heart and your gut tell you.

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

The amount of control you have on your child will decline dramatically over the next few years. That’s a good thing! It means your child is growing into a healthy adult. During this time they will do and say some things that will make you worried, angry, and want to lock them in a tower. When this happens, take a few deep breaths to help you get some perspective and ask yourself, "Are they hurting themselves or others? Are they doing irreparable damage to their future?" If you don't pick your battles, you'll wear yourself out.

Don’t Ignore the Big Stuff

On the other hand, don’t let a difficult situation scare you away from giving your child the help that they need. Self-harm, violence, drug abuse, or mental/emotional disturbances must be addressed quickly and supportively. Your child's teachers, counselors, and administrators at Rogers-Herr will be more than happy to help you with this if you have any concerns!

Arguments & Discipline

Discipline shouldn't require strict obedience, it should shape your child's mind and character so they become responsible adults. Sit with your pre-teen and develop 2-5 expectations, rules, and consequences. Then put it on the fridge as a reminder you both. When your child breaks a rule or doesn't meet an expectation, simply apply the consequence and go on with your day! Your kid may get mad but don't have to because the discipline is already done! When arguments become more intense, your child will take any consequences you levy more personally, making them less effective. You and your pre-teen only have about five more years before they'll be making most of their decisions on their own! Be available to guide them through difficult decisions, let them make informed choices, and be prepared to support them when they inevitably make mistakes.