Giving Them Wings to Fly: A Mom’s Perspective on Middle School
A mom chats about handling her son’s natural pull away process
Middle school is not only a big transition for the kiddos but for the parents too. It’s every parent’s fear that their children will one day no longer need their guidance. Middle School is the first step to this growing independence, but the natural pull-away that starts to happen doesn’t need to be daunting for parents. As Rachel Roland, mother of an incoming 6th grader, puts it, “He is already really independent, but I expect him to embrace that independence more.”
It’s an exciting time when a child is able to make their own decisions without constant supervision from their parent and start to become their own person. We talked with Rachel about her concerns and expectations of the natural pull-away that begins to happen as children grow older.
CI: What are your greatest concerns about your child entering middle school?
RR: My biggest concern is that he has a lot more freedom when it comes to academics. I feel like the teachers take a step back, and students are supposed to take a step forward when it comes to their academic work, and my son is not super academically motivated. I do know that there is a way for me to check his assignments online and make sure that he is keeping up on his things. I really hope that with less oversight or supervision he steps up. Overall my biggest concern is the academics.
CI: What are you most excited for about your child entering middle school?
RR: The biggest thing that I am excited for him is that he will be able to make friends based on common interests instead of based off of geographical commonality. You make friends in elementary school because they are in your class or they live in your neighborhood. When you get to middle school maybe you join a club and possibly make friends who also play Fortnite (laughing) so that is what I'm most excited for.
CI: In what ways do you think your child will change and grow as they start 6th grade?
RR: He is already really independent, but I expect him to embrace that independence more. I also think that at some point, he has always been really sweet and loving towards my husband and I, but I kind of expect him to do that pull away that naturally starts to happen as a child gets older. I'm preparing myself for that and expecting him maybe not to be as excited to see us or want to talk to us as much as he does now.
CI: Remembering back to your childhood, did you feel you were given more freedom in 6th grade? Do you feel you would want to give your child that same amount of freedom?
RR: My personal experience is very different than the life my son has. I had a lot of personal freedom when I was in the 6th grade. I don’t want my son to have the same experience that I did. That being said , I don’t plan on supervising his every move. He is really smart and makes really good choices already, and I hope that continues. He is not the type of person, at this point in his life, who is really influenced by peer pressure. So I'm hoping that as he gets older he continues that spirit of ‘I'm going to do what I want to do instead of what the crowd thinks I should do or what my friends think I should do.”
CI: Do you anticipate your child starting a new hobby or activity as they start middle school? Do you feel they should be challenged as they start this new chapter of their life?
RR: Absolutely, I think challenge is so important for not just students, but for all of us, because there is no way to grow if you’re not being challenged. My son did start scuba over the summer, which is a new activity for him, and it’s extremely challenging. I'm hoping that through this process of challenge and growth he can see that he can try a new activity, and if it is hard work it’s a good thing. It means you are making progress. So do I anticipate him trying something new? Probably not in sixth grade. He is pretty reserved and shy, so stepping out of his comfort zone. I don’t expect him to do a lot of new activity at least the first year of middle school.
CI: What is one thing you want your child to remember as they start middle school?
RR: The one thing I really want him to remember is that my husband and I, his parents, are there for him, and we are so proud of him, and so proud to be his parents, that we love him, and hope that he has a good time!