How To Raise Strong Children Through Their Middle School Years

Middle school years are a season of change. Learning independence; experiencing new things in life; and navigating the waters of friendships, school, self-awareness, and adolescence are all part of going from kid to adult. Each person must go through it, but it can be hard to remember what it was like.

This transition requires the parents to step up like they haven’t before.

I recently finished a great little book called Season of Change: Parenting Your Middle Schooler With Passion And Purpose by Rebecca Ingram Powell. This book has lots of great, simple reminders to help parents love and cherish this unique and growing time in the life of their soon-to-be-adults.

Here are five tips from this book:

Raise A Strong Kid Not Just A Safe One

The goal isn’t to keep kids safe, but to help them grow into strong adults. We want them to discover who they are in Christ, find faith to stand on their own two feet, and meet the challenge of living in the world while making a difference with the gifts they have been given. Safe kids don’t have a chance to have that kind of impact. The best place to be is in the center of God’s will. Give your child the kind of experiences that help them grow in strength.

No Bible, No Breakfast

This easy-to-remember axiom isn’t meant to teach legalism, but to help ground in a solid habit of reading God’s word each day. With today’s technology, it’s wonderful to be able to pull up a Bible app on your device to read and study a bit of scripture each day. Help your child develop this habit each morning.

Triple A Friendships

Guide your child in developing great friendships.  During this impressionable time in their lives, keep guarding their hearts. Triple A friendships include: Accountability, Advice, and Authenticity. Helping to navigate friendships during the middle school years is important. Children are learning and growing and faith; and the voices that speak into their lives are crucial at this stage.

Turbulent Waters Aren’t Bad

Life lessons most often can only be learned through experience. What if your child doesn’t get their project finished? Should the parent stay up all night to do it? Parents may have times when they can stay up late with their child trying to finish up homework. But the discipline of working hard to complete a project will probably come after failing to complete it a couple times and being embarrassed in class.  If we rescue our kids from all the consequences of their choices, they won’t realize how important it is to make good decisions and work hard.

Step Up and Step In

Our middle schoolers are ready to stretch their wings and we need to provide space to allow for it. We must not hit the brakes, trying to keep our child young forever. Instead, hit the gas pedal and travel with your child on their journey to adulthood. Now is the time your middle school student needs to talk with you; spend time with you; and hear about your life growing up and going through teenage years. Maybe more than any other time in life, middle school students needs their parents to be there for them.

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