Do what your kids are doing

The middle school years are an exciting time of change and transition for children and their parents. But the see-saw journey between child and teenager can also be a challenging and exasperating time, particularly for parents who see their influence decreasing when they feel their children are most vulnerable. Staying connected to your child as he or she approaches the teen years takes a sense of humor, tolerance and some creative parenting.

As children begin to explore their independence, they develop new interests and gradually seem to outgrow the activities that bonded you as a family during their early years. But independence can be a scary thing, and preteens want and need their parents more than they usually let on. It’s up to parents to find new ways to bond with their budding teens that allows them to share their child’s new and wondrous world and encourage their growing independence while maintaining a lifeline to the comfort, stability and safety of the family.

A good way to stay connected to preteens is to take a step into their world. Read what they’re reading; join Facebook with them; watch what they’re watching; play the video games they’re playing; listen to their music – and try to keep an open mind!

Through our 21st Century Community Learning Centers, Horizon Education Centers offer free, high-quality afterschool programs that provide middle schoolers with a supportive, creative environment where they can explore new interests. Visit our website to find out more and enroll your child for the coming school year.

Next time: Creative ways to connect with your preteen

photo credit: marcopako