Kids & Stress: The Middle School Years

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Middle schoolers. They're certainly not babies anymore. When a child reaches middle school, it's pretty remarkable to sit back and observe how much he's changed, how independent she's become seemingly overnight. However, one thing that affects middle schoolers more intensely than it did when they were younger is stress. By the time they reach 6th grade, stress is a real part of their lives and helping them cope isn't always easy.

photo by beckys34

The CM group Junior High/Middle School Moms is discussing this now. No longer is it a question about if tweens are stressed, it's more what are they stressing about? Mom njt320 put up a straight-forward poll: What stresses out your middle schooler the most? Of the answers, homework was number one, followed by friendships. You have to imagine, at this phase of a child's life, everything takes on more significance--peer pressure is out of control, hormones are coursing through their bodies, and school work itself is a lot more intense.

Middle schoolers even start asking themselves deeper internal questions like, Who am I really? This is a time they can start to have unrealistic expectations of themselves and become really self-critical. So check out this document I found on coping with middle school stress. It outlines some helpful suggestions for parents:

  • keep an eye on how stress is affecting them
  • be a sincere listener
  • help break big tasks into smaller, more manageable ones
  • support involvement in positive activities: sports, clubs etc.
  • teach them relaxing techniques like deep-breathing and talking things out

After that, release your stress with a glass of Chardonnay! LOL! Seriously, what does your middle schooler stress about and how do you help him/ her cope?

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