Friday, January 22, 2010

Tips For Parents of Soon-To-Be Middle Schoolers

What I'd say to the crowd of very white (at a school that has far more minority than white students), very well to do parents that showed up at today's middle school orientation: 1)Your kids may have been together for 6 years at elementary school but they are going to be with other people in middle school. Sorry if this breaks up YOUR social life, but from what I've seen of your kids, it will do them some good. They're going to become smaller fish in a bigger pond and frankly it will do them good. Stop whining or scratch up the tuition for one of those private schools where your kids can be all together with kids just like them. 2)Yes, they are going to be exposed to some rougher kids not as gently reared as your own. Unless they're going to live in your gently manicured bubble all their lives, it's bound to happen--better now than when they're out on their own somewhere! They'll be fine. Teach them to watch where they're walking in the hallways, not to expect apologies if they do get bumped and not to quell at four letter words. Though judging from some of your kids, they've heard plenty already--especially if they have older siblings! 3)I am still ROTFL about the PTA president telling parents how much harder it will be to monitor their homework. Big hint--stop hovering over them NOW! Plan on keeping an eye out for missed assignments but not much more. I am thrilled with how well SC has learned to manage her 9th grade homework now--we had a few "whoopses" in middle school, but they TAUGHT her self discipline. Personally, I don't want to be like a patron I had long ago, still helping her son with his papers when he was a senior in high school! We often wondered if she packed herself in his trunk when he went off to college. Tongue out 4)Work on your communication skills with your kids now. If you've hovered in the classroom for years, you may know a lot of what goes on, but do they know how to tell you things when it really matters without your having observed it? Do they feel that they can? Sitting there today as they talked about discipline and how they handled problems, I suddenly remembered earlier this week, when a kid upset JR, and she told me what had happened, knowing I'd deal with it. And how I'd helped her deal with another kid last year and with other problems along the way. She TRUSTS me when she needs me. And worried as I am about my gentle, petite almost 11 year old going off to middle school, I suddenly realized she'd be okay. That she'll have her rough patches, but that she will thrive. She'll be okay. Better than me, seeing my "baby" go off to middle school!

No comments: