Transitioning to middle school can be a tough change for many kids. Recently, a 7th grader came home from her first day of school and told her father she did not want to go back to school and wanted to be home schooled. Her description of her first day of middle school was somewhere between Alexander and the No Good Very Bad Day, and Diary of a Wimpy Kid. You would think she was auditioning for a movie the way she threw herself on the couch listing ALL the things that went wrong.
A week into school things hadn’t improved too much. This young lady is bothered by the vocabulary and rude behavior of her peers, feels like she is not connecting with one of her teachers and is stressed rushing from class to class in a sea of kids. In a word, she is miserable. She shared her experiences with her friends, who had very different perspectives and more positive experiences. As they were sharing their stories, her friends gave her all kinds of advice and positive props to help her change her attitude towards middle school. They did what friends do, they listened and helped. Their words were spot on and encouraging, but left the young lady not feeling much better.
In a recent article for Military Kid’s Life, I address this exact issue and provide strategies kids can try when faced with challenging situations. Here is an excerpt from that article:
1. Get your thoughts straight
● Start a journal – Journal writing can be a great way to reflect on your feelings about what is happening in your life.This technique can be an effective way to organize your thoughts on a tough situation before you talk with an adult who can help.
2. Know who to talk to
● School professionals – Most school staffs include a person trained as a great listener and problem solver who helps kids work through challenging social or academic situations. This person may be a school counselor, social worker, psychologist, mentor, coach or teacher.
3. What to say
● “I feel” and “I need” messages – Beginning a conversation with “I feel” is an effective way to share what is going on in your heart and your mind. Follow up with “I need” to let a teacher/counselor know how they can help.
○ “I feel lost in math because I missed out on this stuff. I need extra help.”
○ “I feel lonely at lunch because I don’t know anyone. I need a friendly classmate.”
○ “I feel comfortable sitting at this table of kids because they are friendly. I need to stay here.”
For more tips get the latest issue of Military Kid’s Life, the only print magazine for military kids ages 6 and up. Inside each issue, you’ll find articles for kids who are a part of military families (Active and Reserve), Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, Navy, and Coast Guard. Their writers – military kids and adults who know them best – are from all branches of the military and live around the world.
It is a great magazine kids will read cover to cover…mine sure do!