“Welcome to 7th grade!” I smiled at the parent entering my classroom.
“Whoosh!” she said. “I don’t know if I’m ready for this!”
I was about halfway through Before-School Conferences, and already this was the theme that kept popping up.
Some parents dread having their child enter middle school because of what lies ahead: adolescence and teenager-hood.
Do you remember learning to drive? The harder you tried to steer the car, the more you went off course. It wasn’t until you learned to relax and quit fighting the steering wheel that you could be successful.
Parenting a middle schooler is like that; it works best when you learn to relax and quit fighting so hard for control. The happiest combinations of middle schoolers and parents that sat at my conference table were those where Mom or Dad made suggestions (if they said anything at all) but left final decisions about where to sit and where to put stuff to the student. These parents communicated that they trusted their kids’ judgment, and the kids responded.
Make your expectations clear, offer suggestions, and then relax a little and give your middle schooler a chance to make the right decision. Don’t be too quick to assume the worst and overreact, or you could create problems where there were none and slide right off the road.
And remember – to avoid oversteering, keep your eyes on the road ahead, not on what’s right in front of your bumper.
(Reblogged from August 2012)