Counsellor’s Corner: The ‘Middle Years’
Welcome to Counsellor’s Corner!
Being stuck in the ‘Middle’ isn’t easy for anyone whether you’re the young person or the parent. Helping a young person during their adolescent and teen years can both be challenging and rewarding.
In our blog, Valerie shares some simple and effective tips for not only surviving this time with your children, but also thriving…
Be willing to listen, but don't poke or pry.
It is common for kids of this age to seem secretive and value independence. As they mature, they keep to themselves and distance. Let your child know you'd love to help him, but don't push him into a defensive position. If your young person is amid a long-time friendship that is falling apart, the best thing you can do is stand by and be a good listener without trying to “fix” the problem.
If the issue is minor, keep things light.
Shoes on the floor, towels on the bed, milk left out -- these annoyances are annoying, but not earth shattering. Use a humorous approach so your middle schooler understands you want action but aren't being punitive: "Either the cat is smart, or you left the milk on the counter. Can one of you please put it back before it spoils."
Think ahead to possible conflict.
One of our best tools as parents is being prepared. As your son or daughter approaches the middle years, get ready for at least occasional conflicts. Think through what's truly important to you. Is your young person’s hairstyle as important as homework? As these give-and-take situations start, know ahead of time what areas you are and aren't willing to negotiate.
Break down big deadlines into small parts.
Sometimes young people feel overwhelmed by tasks, especially those they've let go for a long time. High stress situations can cause the young person to give up rather than get started. Help your child by showing him how to set smaller goals. Adolescents have trouble structuring tasks so that they're more approachable.
Encourage the young person to keep a daily list.
A weekly list can sometimes be overwhelming, try a daily list instead. Each day he can put a few things on the list that needs to be done that day. When he has finished the task, your child can draw a line through it to show accomplishment.
Don't hesitate to help with reminders.
Try to think ahead about materials that she'll need for a project (unless you look forward to late evening visits to the store). This won't last forever. Remember that when she was learning to walk, you held her hands and made the path smooth. Now she's learning to take on a tremendous assortment of life tasks and changes.
Give a few of these a try and hopefully your week will go more smoothly!
Valerie DeGraw, Guidance Counsellor