Middle School Parenting Tips

  • Being a parent to a middle school student can be challenging and even make you question, “What happened to my child?”  Here are some tips and suggestions for helping to raise a responsible and respectful kid during these difficult years:

    1. Establish family rules and be consistent about carrying out consequences. Kids, even teenagers, need and crave boundaries.  A parent’s job is to raise a child to become a successful adult.  Rules and consequences teach a child that you love them enough to hold them accountable and teach them right from wrong. 
    2. Have chores for your child to do around the house. Refrain from connecting rewards for chores and instead teach your child that every member of the household is expected to help out.  This teaches kids that they are part of the family and teaches responsibility. 
    3. Do not rescue your child every time they forget something or fail. Allow them the opportunity to learn from their mistakes and fix it the next time.  When we consistently rescue our children, we do not teach them responsibility, accountability, or respect for other people’s time and energy.
    4. Teach your child the value of money and how to manage it. Get creative!  This could be as simple as giving them opportunities to earn their own money for extra things they want to buy. 
    5. Be a good example. Face it, human beings learn primarily through modeling.  In fact, you can’t avoid being an example to your children, whether good or bad. 
    6. Develop an ear and eye for what your child is absorbing. This could be from TV, books, music, YouTube, social media, etc. 
    7. Ask your son/daughter about their school day. Instead of asking, “how was your day?”, ask questions like
      • What was something fun you did at school today?
      • What did you learn today in science?
      • Tell me something interesting that happened today.
    8. Make a big deal out of the family meal. Manners, rules, and values are subtly absorbed over the dinner table.  Family mealtime should communicate and sustain ideals that children will draw on throughout their lives.
    9. Try to maintain a sleep routine that provides adequate sleep every night. I know… with homework, sports, afterschool activities, and all the other chaos of life, sometimes this is hard.  However, the national sleep foundation recommends that middle school students get an average of around 9 hours of sleep a night to function at their best.  Not getting enough sleep can impact academic performance as well as mental health. 
    10. When your middle schooler is stressed or overwhelmed, it may become your job to help them slow down their thinking process. This can be done by asking clarifying questions, exploring all options, and asking nonjudgmental questions.  This helps your child develop critical thinking skills and impulse control.

Helping Your Child Cope with Stress or Anxiety