I remember when I was in high school, my senior English teacher often said, “I hate 8th graders!”
As I begin the year of teaching my very own 8th grader, I’m beginning to understand Floyd’s exclamation. Not that I hate 8th graders (especially my very own 8th grader), but let’s face the truth . . . these middle school years are a tough developmental stage.
One day they’re snuggling up while you read aloud, the next they are pushing you away as you try to kiss them good-night. They can be moody and unpredictable. They can also be thoughtful and reflective. This truly is a wonderful age and stage, once you cut through the attitudes that come along with raging hormones.
As parents, the one thing we don’t want to lose as our children push through these early teen years is the ability to have open, meaningful conversation. It can be tough though — knowing what to talk about. Some days, it seems these kids are speaking a foreign language!
If you’re one of those moms struggling to begin conversations with your middle schooler, here are some ideas to get you started. But don’t stop here. Once you get the conversation going, keep it going by responding respectfully to their answers (even if you don’t particularly like what they have to say) and asking follow-up questions.