Ipod'sAs children move toward the teen years, they can be loving and happy one day and surly and moody the next. Their very normal but inexpertly expressed desire for independence can create an uncomfortable gulf between children and their parents during the middle school years (see our previous post). Finding ways to bridge that gulf may take some creativity but forging new bonds early in your child’s struggle for independence can help you and your child stay connected during the turbulent teen years to come.

To understand the person your child is becoming, you need to step into your preteen’s world.

  • Read your child’s favorite books or the ones on his summer reading list. Invite your child to talk about different scenes or ideas. Acknowledge and respect your child’s views when sharing your own.
  • Let your child take the lead. Ask him to show you how to play his favorite video game and schedule regular “training” sessions.
  • Invite your child to program your iPod with some of his favorite tunes. After listening, ask him how the song lyrics make him feel. Share how you felt about your music when you were his age.

Sharing your child’s interests without judging his taste or denigrating his choices empowers him to explore his independence while demonstrating that you love and accept the new person he is becoming.

Horizon Education Centers provide a creative environment where middle school students can explore new interests through afterschool clubs and special programs. To learn more about our 21st Century Community Learning Centers and enroll your child for the coming school year, visit our website.