Although middle school can be an extremely exciting and rewarding time for your child, there are new issues that will arise within this age group. By nature, middle school students can be competitive, self-absorbed, and passionate about the things they like or they believe in. As a result, sometimes these young people do not choose the best and most positive methods of communication in order to interact with their peers and school faculty.
There are many reasons for this including the fact that children do not have the same defense mechanisms that adults do. If I have a personal problem at home, I have the tools to put on my “game face” when I enter the workplace. Children, on the other hand, do not possess these coping skills at such a young age. When they are experiencing problems at home, they lack the ability to put that on the back burner and focus on the academics being taught.
As an educator, I am aware that my students are sometimes distracted due to legitimate concerns about problems that are going on at home. This can sometimes lead these kids to behave as if they have a “chip on their shoulder.” This is simply a facade that they use to deter their classmates and myself from investigating further to see why they are having trouble in school.
Unfortunately, in an environment laden with hormones and good intentions, these issues can overwhelm some children and cause them to behave aggressively towards their peers and sometimes even towards school staff. It is very important that they learn communication skills early on that will promote positive discussions and allow kids to express their feelings and frustrations verbally instead of resorting to arguments or physical violence.
Parents can promote this positive communication at home by speaking to their children daily about how their school day went. It’s important that they take on the roles of active listeners and be proactive in supporting their children, while at the same time enforcing rules and establishing boundaries for proper and acceptable behavior.
Children should be encouraged to express themselves appropriately in school and to never resort to solving their problems with violence or profanities. Maintaining open lines of communication between parents and kids goes a long way in helping children to vent and talk through things that are bothering them. Remember, a validated adolescent will look for ways to work through conflict instead of resorting to conflict. In the long-run this will have a tremendous positive impact on their academics.
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