When your son or daughter enters middle school, they look and act very much like a child. When they leave middle school, their features have matured and they have a very different attitude toward you and life in general. Very few parents are ready for this rapid change in their child.
Once your child becomes an adolescent, around 10 years old, they begin to leave behind their childish ways and march rapidly toward young adulthood. During the adolescent years, two major events happen in their body preparing them to become adults.
- They go through puberty.
- Their brain experiences a rapid phase of development.
Confusion and Turmoil
This remarkable time of transition is the most pronounced during middle school and is marked by confusion and turmoil for both the adolescent and the parents. One day the adolescent wants to sit next to you and be hugged. The next day, or maybe even later that day, you are the worst parent who has ever lived. The pushing and pulling are all part of this amazing transformation.
There is no easy piece of advice that can smooth the extremes of emotions that accompany this time, but I do have a few suggestions for you.
- Try to remember that what is happening is not your adolescent’s idea. This is a normal biological experience for them and they are just as confused by it as you are.
- Keep in mind that the end result is for them to mature into an independent young adult. Although their desire to stand on their own will be wobbly and at times rebellious, this is how separation happens. They are striving to make their decisions and their ideas their own and not yours.
- What you encourage in them should match the goal of achieving independent thought and responsible decision making. This is very different than when they were younger when you rewarded them for following your way of thinking. Now you are rewarding them for thinking on their own.
“Do I hug them or hide from them?” might be your question if you have an adolescent who is in middle school. Keep the hugs coming and hide when you need to. Just remember, this is a transition and out of It will emerge a young adult.