Few doubt that the middle school years are some of the most challenging for students, teachers and parents.  Understanding what’s in the mind of a middle schooler is the topic of a new book by veteran educators Cynthia Tobias and Sue Acuna called Middle School: The Inside Story.

Cynthia and Sue join us on Connecting Faith to pass along what kids have told them – but don’t tell us – and how we can parent differently to help them succeed, both in school and in life.

The ladies confirm that Middle school is a critical time to make a transition in your parenting. It’s time to relax your grip, but not take your hand off of the wheel completely. So that doesn’t exactly sound like a simple line to walk, but are there easy steps to take in that direction?

In answer, our guests share the 3 fundamental needs of your middle schooler:

• To be listened to
• To be understood
• To be taken seriously

It’s easy for our kids to be distracted at this our age, but we can become just as distracted as they are at times. It’s important for us to be aware that they’re watching us for cues on how to grow into adulthood.

“Kids are watching us for clues on how to become adults.”  – Cynthia Tobias

Your kids really do want to talk to you about what is going on in their hearts, even though it often seems to be precisely the opposite. They are struggling with so many things – from peer pressure to bullying. Our guests break down what those struggles can look like, especially in the life of young girls.

Highlight: For girls

One of the keys to being an effective parent in this scenario is to acknowledge the reality of those struggles. Learn to ask your kids questions and talk with them about your parenting involvement in their lives. Start to know when to take a step back and when to intervene.

Middle School – The inside story