Parenting Strategies

Parenting Strategies for Transition to Middle School

Preadolescences need (and usually will not ask for) parental support as they negotiate the
transition to Middle School. Some suggested parenting strategies:

Feeling comfortable with the new environment
  • Discuss with children their hopes and worries about entering Middle School.
  • Listen, empathize, and do not judge.
  • Make sure your child attends a school orientation program. If a program is not
offered, ask for a meeting with the counselor.
  • Before school starts, take a tour with your child. Locate important places such
as lockers and bathrooms.
  • Introduce your child to his/her teacher and counselor. Be certain he/she
knows where to go and who to see if there is a problem.

Navigating the more complicated system
  • Meet your child’s teacher and counselor and learn the best way to contact
them.
  • Initiate frequent communication with your child’s teachers.
  • Do not believe your child when he/she tells you “ nobody does this anymore”
in Middle School.

Developing necessary organizational skills
  • Make certain that your child has an assignment notebook and any necessary
supplies for organization.
  • Understand that forgetting is normal and inevitable at this age.
  • If your child is willing, help with written reminders and a daily checklist.
  • Help your child develop an organizational system that works for him/her.
  • Remind your child of important events without blaming - forgetting won’t last
forever.

Managing homework
  •  Be clear that homework is the child’s task and responsibility. Do not take on
the job.
  • If needed, set up a structured study time and enforce it.
  • Help with homework minimally. Do not regularly do homework with
children.
  • Communicate with teachers if a child continually has difficulty with
homework. The child and the teacher need to resolve the problem together.

Navigating the Middle School social world
  • Understand and respect that your child’s friendships will become increasingly
important. Expect to be left out.
  • Maintain a strong stance against unsupervised gatherings and long periods of
unsupervised time.
  • Contact parents of a new friend. In spite of what children tell you, you are not
the only one doing this.
  • Work hard to build your child’s self esteem. This is his/her best defense
against peer pressure.
  • When children experience pain or conflict in their friendships, listen and
empathize. Do not offer advice or get involved.
  • Bullying is different from peer conflict. If your child is being bullied, contact
the school immediately. Do not be persuaded that “telling” will make it worse.
Surviving their own emerging preadolescence
  • Accept that Middle Schoolers are often irritable and moody. Try to keep your
equilibrium.
  • Respect their privacy. Be willing to listen, but don’t poke or pry.
  • Think ahead and decide which battles you will fight.
  • Be consistent. Do not give in to manipulation or relentless pressure.
  • Communicate love, respect and acceptance frequently. Feeling an important
and valued member of a family is your child’s most powerful resource in
dealing with the choices and pressures that face a pre-adolescent.


Melanie Blaskower
M.A., Counseling Psychology