You hear the door slam upstairs. Instead of being startled by it, at this point, it’s a well-known, yet unwelcomed sound around your home. Since your kid started sixth grade, they’ve been hard to get along with, hard to get through to. What gives? Where did your pleasant, amenable kid go?
If you’re at your wit’s end, you’re not alone — there are tons of parents across the world who are standing at this junction with you right now, looking frazzled and teeming with nervous energy. Even though this phase is difficult, there’s a logical reason for it.
In middle school, preteens are all about using the knowledge they’ve gathered up until this point and brandishing it against authority. Your once compliant kid becomes a bonafide vigilante, and they’re fighting every day to gain stability and discover their uniqueness. During this phase, your middle schooler will start to zero in on how they see themselves, how they see the world, and how they fit inside that world view.
If you have a sixth grader, you need to know there’s a storm brewing within — your kid has traded endless confidence for insecurity and they’re second guessing everything. They’re asking, “Who do I like? Who likes me?”
By the time your child reaches seventh and eighth grades, their self-awareness and self-consciousness are at an all-time high. The question they’re asking is, “Who am I?”
During this season of huge transitions, your role as the most influential person in your kid’s life is critical. Your kid is looking for you to affirm their personal journey while acknowledging their positive qualities and strengths. This is also a great time to call in some reinforcements in other adults who can also be a source of safety and positivity in your kid’s life.