So God Made a Mother Collection ➔

Parenting looks different as kids age. The love is the same, but it manifests differently.

Parenting a middle schooler can be difficult.

There are so many new things to discuss and new concerns for our preteens. Middle school is tough; I don’t think anyone would argue that.

Middle schoolers get pulled in so many directions and it is confusing what path they should follow. It is often our job as adults who love them to help them navigate their way. But we also need to realize our boys and girls probably won’t think they need our help.

We need to help them develop a moral compass. We are trying to build the child’s self-esteem and teach them self-love can be the best love, but we also want to encourage selflessness.

They are in control of their lives but still follow our rules. That can be confusing for parents and children alike. We often tell them what to do and what not to do, but also tell them to follow their hearts. Then we pray they strike the right balance.

We often have to choose our battles.

You may hate that your tween is wearing shorts in January, but it’s unlikely he is going to get sick from having cold legs. It may not be worth a fight at 7 a.m.

We try to be honest and straight talk about our expectations, our wishes, and our desires. But we have to remember that we need to listen to their wishes and desires, too.

It’s important that our past doesn’t drive their future. Occasionally, we will see something we missed out on in our tween years and want to live vicariously through them.

Or we will think of our own mistakes and cause our children more angst by being overly cautious. If they start to head down a similar path, we may want to jump in and take control. We need to let them learn on their own.

Sometimes the hardest lessons are the strongest lessons.

We can share stories of our own adolescence, but I think it is best if we don’t impose our desires on them. What worked for us may not for them. My husband was an SCA officer for several years, but my son is not interested in running for office. That needs to be OK. I went to every dance offered through the school, and my son is not interested in any dances. We have to accept that’s OK.

Our growing children need their sleep. Sometimes we have to let them sleep late on weekends, but encourage them to go to bed early on school nights. There’s no denying how essential sleep is for their growing bodies and brains. And I think it’s best if we don’t let them sleep with devices by them. I admit that I don’t even have self-control when my cell phone is right next to me.

And I know it’s obvious, but we may need to remember that our boys and girls are dealing with a wide range of hormones and emotions. They are trying to strike a balance between academics, athletics, social life, and downtime.

Sometimes they get things wrong.

Research shows that the tween brain is still developing and they don’t have impulse control. That is huge. Maybe we should believe them more when they say they didn’t mean it.

If we want to support our middle schoolers, maybe we need to speak the truth, but with love in our voice.

Our middle schoolers are changing, so our relationship has to change.

Our tweens still need us—but in very different ways.

Originally published on the author’s page

You may also like:

Dear Daughter As You Move On To Middle School

What Your Middle Schooler Needs to Know

Can We Let our Tweens Be Kids Just a Little Longer?

Andrea Smolin

Andrea is a special education teacher in Virginia Beach, wife to a police officer, and mommy to three wild and amazing little men. She is passionate about working hard, equality, and living a healthy life. She is a lover of all things- especially when they involve caffeine and wine. Her work has been featured through Her View from Home, Scary Mommy-It’s Personal, Reader's Digest, Red Mill Living, Pregnancy Corner, Kindness Matters, and Love What Matters. When she isn't dreaming of saving the world, she is chasing after her three boys. Follow her on her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/mommyto3littlemen/ or on Twitter @Andreapsmolin

Motherhood is the Great Uniter

In: Motherhood
Mom with child silhouette

Connection. It’s something that we all need right now. I knew that when I became a mother, I would be joining the ranks of fellow moms in my family, my workplace, my community. But what I didn’t know is the sense of camaraderie I would form with motherly figures I will never meet. On one particularly stressful day during the newborn stage, I had this unshakeable thought: I am not the first—nor will I be the last—mom to survive this. As I toyed with the idea of mothers existing all over the globe, long before my time, the entire history...

Keep Reading

Going on Family Vacation with Young Kids is Work That’s Worth It

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mom with two young kids on airplane

Our routine will be a mess. Our toddler won’t sleep in a new environment. Our baby needs all of the gear. The flight could be a disaster. I went through a mental checklist of reasons why this kind of family vacation would be hard. It was a pretty convincing list if I’m being honest. I considered throwing a pity party dedicated to the concerns I shoulder as a mother. A few days later I felt a wave of conviction wash over me. I was dreading a trip that was meant to be a blessing to our family. Any kind of...

Keep Reading

Separating Work From Home is a Must For Me

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mom with baby smiling

If I close my eyes and let myself, I can still see the 11-year-old boy with his pale feet sticking out from under the blanket, on his way to the morgue after a gun accident.   If I close my eyes and let myself, I can still see the still, blue form of the 3-month-old who passed away in his sleep. We gave CPR and all the medicines “just in case,” but that baby was gone long before his caregiver brought him in through the door. If I close my eyes and let myself, I can still see the 3-year-old...

Keep Reading

One Child, One Moment, One Memory at a Time

In: Motherhood
Mother with toddler girl smiling

As I sit and watch my girls play in the water at our cabin, I can’t help but smile. Their laughter, their smiles, their pure JOY for the simplest of life’s pleasures- enjoying mother nature-is palpable. But so is my anxiety. For every moment I’m watching them play, I fear it’s a moment that will too soon become a memory. An experience gone too quickly, for I so desperately want to keep them little. You see when I hear things such as, “I only have ____ summers left with my child at home,” I go into total panic mode. It...

Keep Reading

Your Son Won’t Care About Decorating His Dorm Room

In: Grown Children, Motherhood
College boy in dorm room

  ‘Tis the season for dorms for those of us whose children are in college. You may be designing, planning, and buying dorm essentials because the decorating has begun; physically or mentally, it’s happening. And here’s what I’ve learned: boys don’t care. That’s right, boys don’t care what their rooms look like. OK, that may be a bit of an overstatement, but trust me, it’s not that far off the mark. Last year, I remember scrolling through my newsfeeds admiring my friends’ daughters’ room pictures. Everything was color coordinated, and I mean EVERYTHING–even the Command hooks stringing up the fairy...

Keep Reading

When Teens Are Hard to Love, You Love Them Harder

In: Faith, Motherhood, Teen
Teen boy sitting with hood up

I lay face down on the floor, praying. Praying in the loosest sense of the word. Praying in the Romans 8:26 way—you know, when the Spirit “intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” Because I could not utter any actual coherent thoughts at that point. I was weary and beaten down. Day after day I had been in combat, battling an opponent I didn’t anticipate: one of my children. My own child, one of the people I had lovingly grown inside my body and loved sacrificially for all these years, had staunchly and repeatedly put himself in opposition...

Keep Reading

I Want To Raise Good Sisters

In: Kids, Motherhood
Four girls sitting on a rock in the forest, color photo

My current dilemma: how to teach four little girls how to be good sisters when I have no idea what I’m doing? I was an only child growing up, and a tomboy at that. It was a lonely, quiet childhood. I remember wishing for a sister, but knowing that with my single mom, it wasn’t going to happen. So, the sister thing is a big mystery to me. I’ve noticed (admittedly with some envy) adult sisters together and their inside jokes, shared history, and language known only to each other. I’ve read about sisters in books. The relationships between the four...

Keep Reading

I Don’t Just Love You, I Like You

In: Kids, Motherhood
Young boy standing at bridge, color photo

My growing child, my heart often aches when I look at how big you have gotten. You aren’t a baby anymore, you’re a whole kid. You are your own person, with your own thoughts and feelings. You have your own friendships, and interests.  Parts of me realize you don’t need me the same, but deep down I know you need me all the same. And I’m realizing, that in all of these changes, my love for you is also a like.  RELATED: Being Your Mom is the Greatest Honor of My Life Because now we can connect in a whole...

Keep Reading

We’re Learning to Be Just the Two of Us (And It’s Fun!)

In: Grown Children, Marriage, Motherhood
Couple cooking in kitchen

My husband and I have been married for 23 years and we have never spontaneously gone four hours away to anything, much less a concert.  When we got married, we both brought daughters into the marriage, and three years later, we had a son. We were a family of five. In our 23 years of marriage, it had never been just the two of us. There were always ballgames, concerts, school awards, etc that kept us busy and split between two places if not three. After the girls both left the house for college, we still had our son. While...

Keep Reading

Dear Kindergartner, I’ll Always Remember You This Way

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and child touch foreheads

The first magical flickers of your strong heartbeat on a black and white screen— the reassuring evidence I needed to know you were gaining strength for this world. My belly grew, and I proudly went shopping for maternity clothes to cover it. I felt the first dances of your little feet, and it reminded me of butterflies taking flight— the movement of a true miracle. I’ll always remember you this way. The sounds of your first cries—music ringing in my ears. You were real, Earth-side, and wanting only to be loved. The softness of your skin, the way you smelled,...

Keep Reading