My oldest started middle school this week. In preparation of this momentous occasion, I watched Diary of a Wimpy Kid over and over. Its contemporary portrayal of the middle school years, and how the parents survive them, is all I’ve got to go on!
Which got me thinking.
Maybe there are others who have gone before me who can share their wisdom. Yes, other parents who can tell me how to prepare, survive, and thrive during this pubescent cocktail called middle school.
And there are! Below I share their best advice for parents of tweens and middle schoolers.
First up are words of wisdom from Lisa, one of the witty and humorous Dose Girls who writes at The Dose of Reality:
“So, having survived one middle school experience already, I can tell you…Middle school boys LOVE when their moms dance and sing in public. They also love when you run up to them on campus and hug them. For a special treat, they adore when you show up at school unannounced and have lunch with them.”
Second, there’s Kelly, the genius behind KellyLMckenzie.com. (You must read her blog, which coincidentally the Dose Girls first introduced me to.) Here is Kelly’s best advice for parents of middle schoolers:
“I’m a wealth of info on the delights of the middle school. Feel free to consult me any time. In the meantime might I suggest the following:
- Chauffeuring on the field trip: Be sure to tune radio to Sad Mom FM. Play the music really loud and be sure to sing along. Encourage everyone to join you. Also insist that everyone remove their earbuds so they can be fully involved in your musical journey.
- Volunteer for Chaperoning at the school dances: My two loved this! They really encouraged me to sign up. I guess the visions of me potentially ushering them over to a fellow classmate for a dance really got them going.
- In fact volunteer for Everything. I mean everything. Make sure you show up to their school at least once or twice a day. They really like that. “Your mom’s here. Again.” just sends them spinning down the halls deliriously joyful and carefree.
- On the off chance that they choose to have the party at your house be sure to greet each and every guest at the door. Hang about and help with coats. Be sure to stress that you are but a floor away should anyone need anything. OH Better yet STAY. And hang with them. They love that! They also love engaging in chitchat with you. Especially about how you couldn’t find smarties with a Christmas theme so you got 1/2 price Hallowe’en ones instead.
- Above all encourage the making of crafts at ALL social functions. A craft table is so popular at this age. Be sure to have lots of while glue, crayons and googly eyes.”
In all seriousness, though, Kelly really struck a chord with me when she advised the following:
“Actually having survived it I have to say it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Truly. The key thing to remember is to keep your mouth shut and just watch for those precious moments when they want to open up and talk. Be ready. They do happen – usually at bedtime. Best to just listen and offer up monosyllabic affirmations that you’re there and listening. And above all – never ever critique their pals.”
Wise words indeed. Thanks for the advice Lisa and Kelly! I feel more sane and more able to conquer the years ahead. And with grace, wisdom and a sense of humor, I hope we all come out of it just fine.
What is your favorite advice from Lisa or Kelly? Do you have any advice for me?
Image courtesy of Ambro/Freedigitalphotos.net.