Parents Guide to Surviving Middle School!


Reprinted from the Huffington Post.

1. Respect me. I'm my own person, not just your kid. Sometimes I might have opinions that differ from yours. Sometimes I just want to be your baby. Respect me either way.

2. I still want to have fun with you, and feel like home is safe and happy. Smile at me.

3. I need to make some of my own choices, and maybe some of my own mistakes. Don't do my work for me or get me out of every jam. You don't need to be better than me at everything. Don't condescend; you don't need to impart your elderly wisdom on me if I have a problem. Please wait for me to ask for your help. If I don't ask for it, I might want to work it out for myself. Let me rant without offering advice. Sometimes that's all I really need, just to talk my way through something and for you to just listen to me.

Click to read the other 12 things: LINK


This is a great article from "Psychology Today" about the transition to middle school. We recommend reading the whole article here. LINK

Come middle school, early adolescents collide with secondary education.

Published on April 18, 2011 by Carl E. Pickhardt, Ph.D. in Surviving (Your Child's) Adolescence

Middle school is a minefield of developmental challenges for students, a time when significant parental supervision and support must be given. Summarizing, here are ten steps parents can take to support a successful entry and passage through middle school.

1.Understand that middle school is not elementary school.
2.Identify and allay common entry fears of middle school.
3.Expect early adolescent changes in your child.
4.Supervise the completion of all homework.
5.Support learning to function in a large secondary system.
6.Declare your desire to be told about any social cruelty that occurs.
7.Inform your child about the normal changes that come with puberty.
8.Enroll your child in social circles outside of school.
9.Encourage the development of multiple sources of self-esteem.
10.Monitor and moderate the increased need for electronic communication (cell phone texting, computer messaging, and social networking.)


This article is excerpted from Traits of Writing: The Complete Guide for Middle School by Ruth Culham.

Here are some of the “truths” I’ve discovered about middle school students over the past thirty years, which have helped me understand students better and respect them more:

  1. They have a hard time remembering things. 
    They don’t remember to put their names on their papers even though they did this automatically in elementary school. They don’t remember where they put their papers, their backpacks, or that all-too-important permission slip. In fact, they remember hardly anything they consider mundane, no matter how desperately the adults in their lives wish they did. It doesn’t mean they aren’t learning. 

  2. They don’t like to do ordinary, repetitive tasks. 
    They detest homework for the sake of homework, formula-driven prompts, black-line masters designed to teach them things they already know. (Who can blame them?) They like to be occupied with work that matters to them. They like being active. In fact, they crave it. 

  3. They must talk to learn.  
    Talking is as essential to middle school students as breathing. In silent classrooms, students are cut off from one another and become bored and frustrated. In classrooms where talking is valued, the energy level is palpable. Talking is how middle school students process their world and make sense of it. 

  4. They adore technology.
    They “get it” in ways that we, as adults, never will. They will gladly show us what they know if given the opportunity to use computers, cell phones, iPods, interactive whiteboards, and on and on. If we find a way to make technology an integral part of our writing instruction, just imagine what our students might do.

  5. They aren’t high school students. 
    Their strengths and weaknesses are different from older kids’. Yes, they have passion and energy, but with these come moodiness and unbridled emotion. They should be taught for who they are now, what works for them now, what is meaningful now. This is the best preparation for what comes later. Likewise, the best middle school teachers aren’t frustrated high school teachers, nor are they latter-day elementary teachers. We bring unique skills, passions, and characteristics to our work. The patience, flexibility, and humor required at every level, K to 12, are critical to success in middle school.

This page was last updated on June 3, 2021