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“Mom, people keep telling me to be ready for the drama in middle school, and I don’t like it.” My 12-year-old daughter said this to me before she started middle school, and it made me smile. Her natural instinct is to run from drama. She is a lot like me in that she wants people to be happy and for there to be zero awkwardness surrounding her.

After quickly pondering her statement, I reminded her that she chooses to join the drama or stay out of it, just as she always has.

She gets to choose who her friends are.

She gets to choose who gets to speak words into her life.

She gets to choose how she spends her time.

She gets to choose how she handles technology.

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She gets to choose how to respond to all the new hormones.

She gets to choose to extend grace to others (who are also experiencing new hormones).

She gets a choice.

Yes, there may be times when drama chases her down. Maybe there’s nothing she can do to stay out of it. Here’s what I know about those rare situations. Those instances will be few and far between. When they do inevitably happen, she will climb out of it with grace and be more mature than she was before.

Isn’t that how her life was back in her elementary school days? (Minus the pesky hormones, of course.)

Middle school has a bad reputation, but I refuse to believe it has to be that way for every kid. I don’t want my daughter taking on middle school with the belief that the next three years will be hard for her. What a long three years that would be!

I want my daughter to enter middle school with the mentality that it can be an enjoyable three years of growth for her. Speaking positively about this time in her life is my goal. There is so much within her control to make these years amazing.

There are many ways she can choose to do positive things during middle school.

She can be the kind of friend to others she wants for herself.

She can always be kind.

She can smile and say hi as she passes others in the hallways.

She can dance to “Cotton Eye Joe” with her math teacher in the hallway and make others smile. (Yes, this actually happened on the first day of school.)

She can radiate joy.

She can include others who may feel left out.

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She can be quick to say sorry when she messes up.

She can be just as quick to forgive others when they mess up.

She can hold onto friends who are kind, drama-free, and fun.

She can walk away from dramatic situations or people and always use her parents as an excuse. (Isn’t allowing our kid to blame us part of the parenting handbook?)

She can stay true to who she is while continuing to make the same drama-free choices she has always made.

The world may label the middle school years as hard and unpleasant, but I want her to walk the hallways with the perspective that her positive presence could impact someone’s life.

I hope my daughter will know that drama does not have to consume her middle school experience.

Even with hormones, I fully believe that grace can thrive and fun can be had by all.

She can take on middle school drama-free and truly enjoy this time in her life, but the choice is ultimately up to her.

Lauren Elizabeth Miller

Lauren Elizabeth Miller is the author of Made for More: My Story of God's Grace and Glory. Lauren serves people through words and points them to Jesus as the blogger and creator at laurenelizabethmiller.com. She earned an MBA in 2012 and uses her business degree for nonprofit work. As an adoptive mom, she has a passion for kids in need of families locally and around the world. Lauren lives in Nolensville, Tennessee, with her husband, Scott, and three children.

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