Welcome to middle school -- a far cry from the stress-free atmosphere of elementary school without the maturity that comes with high school. As your pre-teen makes the transition into middle school, you both might experience an initiation of sorts; your child's may come from mean kids and friend drama while yours may come from the parents of those children. By teaching your child about conflict resolution and giving her the space she needs to work through her friendship woes, you can help her have the best middle school experience possible.
Your pre-teen's middle school drama might seem trivial to you, but it's practically life or death for your maturing child. Belittling her social situations or not taking her problems seriously could prevent her from coming to you in the future. If you do want to put things in perspective for your dramatic pre-teen, remind her that while things might be stressful now, they'll get better in the future, suggests PBS Parents. That way, you acknowledge the realness of her drama without adding fuel to the fire.
While your child might have enjoyed a happy tenure in elementary school, she may have her first experience with cliques and exclusion in middle school. By limiting your pre-teen's chances for exclusion or for excluding others, you can keep the peace. Instead of trying out for a school sports team, encourage your child to sign up for an open registration sports team. You can check to see what the school does to limit exclusion, like having assigned lunch room seating and having teachers choose science partners instead of allowing the kids the ability to form cliques and exclude others.
Don't Get Involved
Middle school might be both your and your child's first experience with the rumor mill. Not only will gossip spread around your pre-teen and her friends, but it can also make the rounds from parent to parent in the carpool line. Your best bet is to never entertain gossip from other parents or your child. If you hear rumors begin to fly, put the kibosh on the discussion, and avoid getting involved. Your pre-teen will learn that gossip is unacceptable, and you avoid getting sucked into the middle school drama through other parents.
Don't Tolerate Bullying
Bullying is unacceptable in any form. Bullies use intimidation -- physical and emotional -- to make their victims feel unsafe, warns psychologist Carl Pickhardt in an article for Psychology Today. While it's important to allow your pre-teen to solve her own middle school conflict, bullying is a serious issue and requires parental involvement. Talking to school administrators and other involved parents -- whether your child is the bully or the victim -- sets a zero-tolerance precedent that follows your child from middle school into high school.