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0:00:37 – Speaker 1
So I’ve been stopped by two or three moms and they are like something is happening. My kid started middle school and, oh my gosh, help me.
0:00:48 – Speaker 2
And here we are. We just started middle school and I feel like I’m surrounded by moms who are looking at me with the big eyes like is this happening to you too? You know What happened to my kid?
0:00:59 – Speaker 1
Well, honestly, when they asked me, it took me back. I have an eighth grader now He’s my baby, but I remember the first semester of sixth grade and how tough it was. Now we titled this show New to Middle School because we are very much aware that in different parts of the country middle school starts at different ages. So we wanted to kind of be very specific. There In Texas it’s pretty traditional like sixth grade is starting middle school. So if you hear us say our sixth grader, that means we’re in the first semester of middle school and we’re trying to figure this out. We are in it.
0:01:32 – Speaker 2
The deep end. I’m past it, but you are in it, we are in it And I will say we did a show back in 2018 called Middle School Heads Up. Listen to that one too. It is really like the big conversations that you want to have with your kid leading up to middle school about sex and pornography and drugs and all the things. Those big conversations that you want to make sure that you’ve equipped your kid with the information for and created that open conversation that they know they can come back to you. But this show is more about the details, the practical stuff that will help that first year of middle school and into seventh and eighth grade be a little smoother, and that’s so crazy.
0:02:10 – Speaker 1
Yeah. So let me tell you what these mamas have been saying to me. My kid has always been responsible and I’ve never had to be involved with homework, like they just get it done. And now, all of a sudden, i have to help them stay on top of it and there’s missing assignments and, oh my gosh, how are we going to ever handle starting sports in the morning next year when we can’t even handle this? You know, there’s that panic of something’s wrong.
0:02:35 – Speaker 2
Well, and at our school we start sports in sixth grade with like the whole middle school. So overnight it was all the things. And so as we’re trying to balance all that and he’s trying to figure that all out, i heard mamas also saying oh yeah, we’re struggling with all that. but then the attitude too, like suddenly my kid just a snappy and disrespectful and they seem kind of lazy and out of touch. What in the world, like all these changes are happening and I don’t know what to do. So that kind of got us into thinking we need to do this type of show, a practical show about what’s happening with your kid.
0:03:10 – Speaker 1
For sure there’s some hormonal stuff going on. Absolutely Right, we’re going to have that in middle school. One of the things that I’ve been saying to these mamas is this they went from having one or two teachers to having six or seven, and most middle schools you don’t get recess, no more, no more, just hang out time right and get it all out if you’re frustrated, exactly. And so it is a big transition for these kids that we need to empathize with.
0:03:39 – Speaker 2
As I was thinking about this show and our own experience, this word kept coming up over and over for me, and that is change, like you said. suddenly they have change of all these teachers. they have change of responsibility, change in relationships, change of expectations and change of pressure. And then they jump in the car after school and we’re like, well, what assignments you have to do, like oh, how was practice? and we’re going down the list and we want them to come home and get to work, when I think really, in this season of change, we need to tap into that empathy, like you said, and just give them a minute.
0:04:14 – Speaker 1
Well, i think what’s happening is they hop in the car. They’re safe place, and we are one more voice that I’m gonna say a word that hits me wrong, but we’re nagging them And they just need to breathe. They need to breathe. They got in the car, which is their safe place, and they need to be able to vent. They need a minute, they need a snack, they may need some fortnight or screen time. They just need a second to reset before we dive in.
Cuz, typically, what do we do? No screens to. Homework is done. You’re getting everything done before you do anything, and they just need a break, and so sometimes just changing up the schedule will solve the problem. And I was telling one mama I was like I think you’re getting attitude because he wants to tell you this, but he doesn’t know how to tell you And he’s just like why? why am I getting in the car and you’re just screaming at me and telling me all the things I have to do? I just I’ve been at school all day and I have a lot of teachers coming at me that I didn’t have before and I’m just trying to process all of this mom.
0:05:17 – Speaker 2
Yeah, that is so true. That’s exactly what happened in our household and I remember thinking, wait a minute, i gotta know my kid. My kid likes quiet. And now he’s in this storm of noise and new teachers and You know most schools, you’re merging multiple elementary schools into a middle school and so new faces, all kinds of things happening and all the sports that we used to manage cuz it was like practice at night or on the weekend.
Now that’s all on him And he just needed some quiet. He didn’t need me asking him how his day was and all the things. And so we changed up the schedule and I gotta tell you it is help so much. We have this new thing Which the littles who are not in middle school are enjoying to, but it’s. We get home, the car ride can be quiet if you’d like, and you get 30 minutes just to decompress, whatever that looks like for you. If you wanna go play a little bit of video games, if you wanna eat a snack, if you wanna talk, that’s fine. But I wanna give him that time to just process all the tap in the day And then we can talk about what’s coming up for the next half of the day before bedtime.
0:06:20 – Speaker 1
I love how you switched up the schedule and I think this requires a conversation to to build the relationship even more. so it goes something like this I see you, i see that when you get in the car, i’m pouncing on you with my to do list and I see that you need a minute. Don’t miss this conversation, because this speaks volumes to your kid in the fact that I see your struggle and I want to switch up our schedule to accommodate you and help you. It builds the relationship.
0:06:52 – Speaker 2
You know, what’s really cool about that, too, is it works both ways, and I know this show is about middle school, but when we had that conversation in our home We use the example of daddy like he needs that time when he comes home from work and he’s just been bombarded all day. He just needs a little transition time And then mommy, after dinner while they’re cleaning up the kitchen. I need that time to. It has been a long day and so it was like a full circle moment. We all just need a minute, and finding a way to build that in as we grow as a family makes for great conversation and how we can help each other, so I loved that we were able to do that.
0:07:27 – Speaker 1
The other thing about this also and I remember walking my own child through this My kid is somebody who likes to check it off and know that it’s done so with a homework assignment.
He doesn’t like it lingering over his head And I remember in the first part of sixth grade he struggled so much because he would have, like, semester long projects. He would be like, oh my gosh, it’s weeks out and it would just lingered over his head and it created an overwhelming feeling for him. So what we did is we had to break it down. And we broke it down in little increments like what do you have want to have done this week? Get that done, that small portion of your project, and then you can check it off and you can feel good about your weekend that you don’t have to do homework. And that for him was just huge, teaching him kind of how to manage these bigger type middle school projects. You think, oh, it’s a process, they’ll figure it out. But the kids who struggle with different things, they need help. They don’t really know how to break it. Take a big project and break it down into smaller steps to where they do feel good checking that thing off the list.
0:08:37 – Speaker 2
Well, and that really goes into helping your kid identify some of those things like what works, what doesn’t work, how does my brain process and what helps me to be organized and be successful in my school day. That’s such a great conversation and encouraging them when you see them doing that, when you help them figure it out and you see them doing it like me and you’re doing so good with that, or coming alongside them when you see they’re struggling, not just saying like what are you doing or why is that not done or why did you get a zero? but Hey, i see that you’re struggling. let’s talk about what you’re doing and maybe find some new systems that will work better for you.
Because this is the years 6th and 7th grade when you let your kids mess up, and this we just talked about on our college show like Ten practical tips to prepare your kid for college. They need to know that 6th and 7th grade is when they’re finding the rhythm and when they are going to have some mess ups and we need to let them have that, because 8th grade can possibly go to school, 8th grade can possibly go on their college transcript and if that’s the path they’re going, that needs to be something that’s part of the conversation eventually, so have that in the back of your mind when you’re helping them figure out systems for 6th and 7th grade when your kids start taking high school classes.
0:09:52 – Speaker 1
They need to be on it because it really does count towards their GPA and rank. So whenever that starts to happen and before that, that’s the transition where you let them fail and they need to learn how to fail and how to figure that out. And I think another practical thing can that you and I were talking through when you were going through this Is 6th graders. You know they’re in a new school, they’re juggling all this new stuff and all of a sudden they’re losing things and your kid was super responsible before. And then all of a sudden they can’t find their mouth guard for for football practice or they can’t find this textbook or whatever. We talked through some practical ways to help your kid manage that.
So when you come home, where’s the spot where you’re going to put everything for the next day? And if you use that, make sure after you use it you put it back, so it’s all in one location. For us we have a mud bench, so I’m always telling my kids put it on the mud bench if you have to take it in the morning, so you don’t forget it, because mornings are hectic. I’m not a morning person. I’m not going to remember in the mornings. I’m just not So for us that’s kind of how we have to have the conversation. You know again, can this goes back to you saying identify how their brain works and what they need help with, and then you can come in with like practical strategies to help them figure it out.
0:11:13 – Speaker 2
Absolutely. You know. The other thing within all of that That helps them learn is like grace with consequences, and that’s the space where we’ve been living like first few times, like I get it, you know and I’m all about. I understand you forgot your bag again or you left your water bottle Again, but I’m very clear that, hey, i’m gonna bring it the first two times, but after that You’re gonna have to go without it and you’re gonna have to have the conversation with your teacher or coach, and we’ve had to have a few of those, but the cool thing is they’ve been encouraged by their coach.
Hey, this is a part of middle school. I’m really proud of you for coming to me and letting me know what you forgot Or what you didn’t do. Or teacher who says thanks for letting me know, let’s figure out a plan, and that’s also a part of that growing up and then taking responsibility for when they mess something up. So, yes, some grace, yes, help them with this transition. But also there’s a point when you need to say okay, now there’s a consequence and you’ve got to deal with it.
0:12:12 – Speaker 1
Absolutely, and that’s part of that. When we say let them fail, that’s what that means. I think one of the key principles here is Sometimes in depending on parent personality, if you have a parent personality That’s very organized and they’re very checklisty and Kind of a perfectionist type person Parents with that kind of personality You are gonna have to really watch this, because we we want it all done real fast, real quick, and that is really tough. And I’m speaking I’m an enneagram one, so I’m speaking from standpoint here.
When my kids started sixth grade, i remember talking to my husband behind closed doors being like We’ve lost our kid And they did everything, and now they’re forgetting this, and now they’re forgetting that and and I have to be on him about this What is happening? and he was the one that kind of was like Mandy, you need to chill for a minute. Everything has changed for them. Give him a second to figure it out and, honestly, by second semester of sixth grade, we saw that stabilization happening. We saw him figuring out totally on his own. And you know, if you don’t, then maybe there’s some Harder conversations there about okay, i gave you a lot of grace first semester because you were new to middle school, but second semester It’s a whole new ballgame. We got a fit. You know you’ve you’ve had your time to figure it out and now you got to step it up.
0:13:35 – Speaker 2
I think what this boils down to is it’s a really big change, yes, for your kid, but for you too, mom and dad, i mean really think about it. I was, you know, there with my kid mix of tears and excitement, touring the school and the lockers and all the things, and It’s a really big shift that you’ve been thinking about and preparing for. But we need to make sure that we’re having the Conversations within that change as well. You know the empathy, the changing up the schedule, the helping them identify Their rhythm and flow and how they get organized, and then you get to celebrate when they actually do it, like I’m loving it now Because I’m like man. He’s got a totally different system that I had for him from elementary, but this works for him as he’s growing up and I can see how that will grow with him as he goes into high school. So it’s a fun time if you can dig in there and have the Conversations and figure out a way that it works you touched on something just now, cam.
0:14:28 – Speaker 1
That is critical. You want them figuring out their own system. Yes, you’ll help them a little bit, you’ll give them examples, but you want them figuring it out because they take ownership of it and they do take it to high school. Their organizational skills that they develop in middle school is just critical. In high school I can’t even say they have got to have that organization on their own. One thing to my kids sometimes even as an eighth grader, he’ll be like mom, should I put these folders and this binder or should I do that? and now I’ll be like well, what works best for you? Like you know, as a sixth grader I probably would have given some examples or kind of walked him through it a little bit more, but now I’m more hands off. What works best for you, what works best during your day? Well, the folders fall out when you pull them out of the binder. You know having him think through all those things on a practical level.
0:15:18 – Speaker 2
So we’re talking about middle school here. You know I’m in the middle of it and you know We’ve heard from so many moms. But, quite honestly, getting your kid to recognize their skillset and their natural inclination in System and when they need to relax and when they work best, is just a great conversation at any age, and so hopefully these tips can help you and your kids navigate that without you feeling like I’m losing my kid. It’s just another season and we just need to create the open lines of communication so we can walk them through it.
Transcribed by https://podium.page