7th & 8th Graders
312 weeks until graduation . . .
What’s this phase all about?
Ah, middle school. Somewhere in the world you might find a few random middle-schoolers who are graceful, confident, unembarrassed by their parents, and totally sure of their ability to conquer the adolescence years. However, the majority of them are rather awkwardly navigating a world that’s totally new to them. Big feet, braces, and body odor are just a few of the physical changes they’re undergoing. Social changes might be even more dramatic. Hormones, new cliques, and first crushes turn a previously undramatic social dynamic upside down. And, emotionally? Second toddlerhood, anyone? Cry, laugh, yell, giggle, cry, giggle harder, cry louder, slam door, snuggle in your lap. You can never be certain what they’re feeling because they’re never certain. Middle school is sometimes like a second dip into toddlerhood (especially if you have that kiddo who is determined to disagree with everything just to prove they can.)
What blessings can you find in this phase?
Many adults will agree that middle school is the one phase of their lives they wouldn’t want to re-live. Some parents will tell you that this is the one phase of their child’s life they’ve been dreading. However, middle school doesn’t have to be terrible. Although they will have rough days (or weeks!), middle-schoolers who feel loved by their parents and secure in their boundaries at home generally transition through this phase easier than those who don’t. Especially in situations where they’re comfortable, kids this age can be articulate, funny, and highly entertaining. Because they enjoy being part of a group, they generally love to be involved in student ministry or any other event that lets them leave the house and hang out with their friends. If you’re ready to go, so are they!
How can you leverage this phase?
If your child isn’t regularly involved in a good student ministry, make it happen. Maybe more than any other single phase, this group needs that involvement. Why? It meets several of their core needs. It gives them a place to belong and a group to belong to. It gives them a place where other trustworthy adult voices are speaking the same biblical beliefs and values into their lives that you are telling them at home. It affirms that, although they growing up, God should continue to hold an important place in their lives. You will find that even reluctant middle-schooler tend to enjoy Student Ministry once they get involved. (If your child is balking at church attendance, share that info with your Student Pastor. Most will go out of their way to try to make sure your child feels connected.)