I was brought up by searingly intelligent parents, both complicated, funny, intellectual. They bonded over cryptic crosswords and were contemptuous of tabloid-reading mouth-breathers. I grew up believing that having an incisive wit and split-second recall of arcane facts is more important than being kind or compassionate. If someone was bright, I warmed to them. If someone was not, I yawned. I assumed that my child would share my feelings.
No, I assumed that she would be like me. The first signs were good. In the womb, Bella was constantly kicking and hiccupping, as if she yearned to be out there, engaging the world in a lively debate. And when she arrived she was restless, with a nervous energy that was alarming. My father declared her "very alert" and I glowed with pride, even though she cried endlessly. But as she entered the toddler years, this agitated, highly emotional baby didn't show any signs of developing the cerebral abilities you'd assume came with being alert.
She was slow to talk; while friends' children could string together three words — "Wan go slide" — Bella would just utter "slide". All the other milestones found her trailing behind her peers: potty-training, dressing herself, identifying colours. She'd reach them eventually, but always months behind her contemporaries.
It's not helpful to compare, I'd tell myself. Celebrate her for herself. But when you're a new parent, it's impossible not to measure your child against other children. I searched for reasons. She had a long and traumatic birth — had it left her with slight brain damage? Did all that crying in the first year frazzle her synapses?
I grew weary of the competitive mums at the playgroups with their "stealth boasting". I felt protective of Bella — she didn't know she wasn't measuring up — but also disappointed. I'd try to "hot-house" her with educational toys, but she found anything but the most basic games baffling. She loved to play with dollies and teddies and grew edgy around anything challenging such as jigsaws — she just couldn't grasp how to tackle them and didn't like me trying to help her. When she started at infants school, I was hoping that somehow things would just click for her; that she would respond to her teacher differently from how she responded to me.
Bella came home with a work book. We'd go through it together, and she'd carefully draw around the letters I'd outlined in dots for her. But turn the page and the lesson would vanish from her mind. By the end of the school year, the alphabet was still a meaningless set of squiggles to her. Don't worry — she'll catch up," she said. Her dad's spelling is dubious and his memory for names and dates is laughable.
It must be his fault, I reasoned, glad to have something to pin the blame on to. He wasn't concerned, saying that he needed extra help at school, but seeing as he went on to university and into a profession, it didn't really affect him in the long term. Comforted by that, I relaxed a little and tried not to be so anxious about Bella. I learned to resist peeking into her friend's bookbags, to see how far they had got through the school's graded library.
It only brought heartache when I saw they were light years ahead of Bella. I focused instead on her positive traits: her friendliness and sensitivity. I imagined the cleverer kids gloomily grinding away in a boring job while Bella was surrounded by laughing friends. But a new school year brought a new teacher, one who was less laid-back.
I was heartened by her hands-on approach, and gladly agreed to have Bella's eyes and hearing tested. Both tests came back normal. But I already knew her learning delay wasn't due to her eyesight or hearing. Thank you so much for this information. My family members are surprised when I say no my son does not have a cell phone and yes he must check in with me when he is outside.
He needs to know I care about his wellbeing and he has limitations, but potential to prove he can accept additional responsibilities. Talk to him about how it affect the relationship with you and him. He may be more receptive to that than how it affects the school and teachers. Perhaps have a strong male member from the church speak to him. I also have an 8 year old and 3 year old. I do most of these things and feel I have a good bond with my boys. Have a grandson in Middle School and this helps to understand, a little, what he goes thru daily.
I find it helpful to ease in to conversation about antrying.. Not Joking.. Thank you for this very helpful article!!! We as parents feel so much pressure when it come to iPhones and freedom.
I am not ready to let him have it yet, no need and like you said needs to improve his attitude and help around the house more. I just recently got married to a man with a now 13 yr old son. I look foword to having more posts on parenting a boy! I am what you describe. I felt validated after reading this. Thank you. Thanks for the valuable tips! We have 3 kids and 1 of each, grade school, middle school, high school. Our middle school is by far the most mature of the 3!
My grade schooler wants a phone and I said absolutely not you are not in a need of one you are never with out me other than at school and they have a phone. My high schooler had a phone and due to poor choices and poor grades we took it away for the last time and the next time he gets a phone is when he is 18 and signs the contract. My middle schooler has a 3.
I feel not only middle school but High school needs even more supervision as well. We JUST tonight had a discussion with our 10 year old about wanting to read Hunger Games…as of course he lists friends that are enjoying reading it. My fear is always that by withholding and waiting, we are putting that much more value on the wanted item. On top of that, also today, a little peach fuzz was noticed on his upper lip and the idea of shaving came into conversation…with my TEN year old! My very fun loving, sweet, smart ten year old. It does go by quickly, but I am doing my very best to be cognizant of that and enjoying ever second along the way!
Thank you for this article, for confirmation and encouragement…we ARE raising a wonderful young man! This is fabulous. As he has become conscious of girls and hormones and the resulting struggle , he does NOT like when I give him a full frontal hug. It is NOT good for him. Teach them to own it and move on. I was the usual volunteer to take my daughter and her friends places when they were in middle school. She is a mastermind at planning. I drove and listened. I learned a lot driving them around to activities.
And I got to know her friends well. I think kids are very receptive to this concept as teens crave that independence. Great post! So great Sharon! Thank you so much for sharing from your perspective!
I love to hear that. Much aloha and keep up the great work! I am sorry but I must disagree with you. What middle school boy needs is a father. She knows all of the physical things that happen, but she knows nothing about how he feels. I think that at that age a boy needs a father to teach him how to treat girls, that rejection from girls is natural, and like the commercial says what not to hit. I started researching how to help your middle school boy and came across this post. You offer common sense and well-thought out tips, some of which I knew, but had forgotten to apply with him. Reading this post and a lot of the comments in this thread have brought me some great guidance, tips and the reassurance I was looking for to help my son through his middle school years.
This helped me a lot.
I was having a tough time with my 11 year old. But now understand that hes growing and needs our support. Thank you for taking time to comment, Susanna! So glad if this helps a little. Hope you have some successful connections with your growing boy! Hello, My 13 year old son has recently been completely defiant in school. Out of nowhere. Some days better than others. It has been a week or so since the last incident. Needless to say he is suspended for 5 days.
I am in complete shock not to mention embarrassed. So sorry for what you are going through. It does sound like something is going on underneath all of this and the best thing you can do is connect with your son at a level where he might open up and talk to you. He might need some counseling or help outside the family, but I always recommend starting with just plain love and communication.
Thanks for this very helpful post! I have a VERY strong willed 6th grader boy who has been relentlessly asking me to get him an iPhone, after we got him an inexpensive smart phone for calling purposes after last summer. I will definitely apply your list of advice accordingly!! I thoroughly enjoyed the read. I thank the Lord that he entrusted me to raise one of his Sons. Our values are as yours. Kids need that love, support, monitoring, input and a friendly ear all through their different stages but more again during this middle school stage.
Good to see this explicitly set out. I will definitely refer to this article again.
Thank you Debbie! Sounds like you too, know the male species well. My step son is Chinese. He is about to turn We are very unfortunate to soon face the loss of his 38yo mother to cancer. He only arrived here in Australia in July He still has very limited English. He wants and asks for all the things a typical boy his age would like. Right now he has none. A very tough few years ahead for this young fella.
Thank you Rafael! Very cool. Sounds like you are super in-tune with your son, and doing a great job. The feelings ours, as parents : are all very real and ok. Great article. Please may I share this with my school community? Kind regards Garth Kitching. Thank you Garth!! You are welcome to. As long as you give credit and link back to my site I would be honored for you to share it. Thank you for asking and Much Aloha to you!! Agree with all of it!! Especially being careful with giving them too much freedom and liberties.
Mom of 5 On the 3rd jr higher;-. Thanks for not making it about teaching him how to treat a woman. True valuable advice specific to boys is hard to come by. I am a 60 year old grandma. Three years ago I became legal guardian of my 8 year old grandson. He is now 11 and just started middle school. My youngest son just turned Just do your best and give lots of love. Bless your heart for doing that! Hope my posts help a bit!
Much Aloha to you—. Very helpful and very true. My 11 year old is going on 15! He is the first born of my boys. He has an older sis in first year of college. He has a younger bro. Who is 9. Yes they argue constantly. But mostly because my 11 year old wants his brother to know he is older and wiser. I think that is where my problem lies. As a Christian mom, I think he really needs the understanding that little bro. My Husband and I am trying to foster that in him. Thanks for commenting, Eve. I am with you in that scenario also, where one of my boys wants so much to stand out as the older wiser brother…yet this can come across as criticism and tearing down the younger.
I stopped reading when you talked about middle schoolers earning an iPhone. My son has been told how it will hinder him from forming the social skills he will need for the rest of his life. For examples, I point out people at restaurants who are using the phone instead of talking to their friends.
He has a basic phone and can call in case of emergency. I wish parents would stop giving their middle schoolers iPhones.. They need to focus on academic and social growth, not iPhones and social media.. Thanks for the input Denise, but you might want to finish a post if you feel prompted to comment. In the post I shared that I did not get my middle schooler an iPhone. I so needed this today!! My son is in 5th grade going j to middle school next year. Thank you so much!! Weekly youth group and therapy with a male LCSW have been huge outlets for him. He also does dance classes hip-hop and tap and electric guitar lessons.
Also, the couple of friends that he does have live close by and they come hang at my house every Friday after school. I feed them dinner and they play video games or watch a movie. Otherwise, most topics are open. I want them to feel comfortable with me. It seems to have worked in my favor so far. Thank you verry much,ik have to do this. I have a verry hard time now. This Will help me. May God bless you. Oh I am so glad…. Thank you for letting me know.
I hope you find encouragement and strength to do your best! Awesome book, great practical parenting handbook as you enter the teen years!!! Quick read!! Oh thank you for that tip, Jenny. Sounds like a very helpful book. Was wondering, do you have a site you published the categories of scripture for particular areas for the What a Middle School Boy Needs? That would make it much easier for me and for me to share with my grandsons.
We are raising two grandsons, ages 12 and 7 yrs old and hopefully, my granddaughter 5 yrs old. Great question Jennifer. If you can stay tuned I should have some good resources on the blog very soon! Excellent article. Far too many of my eighth grade students walk into class like zombies, having gone to bed late the night before. I would also add that computers and phones are most often the cause of the lost sleep hours. Please, parents, store all electronics during the night hours. I totally agree with you! Thus our renewed commitment in our home to early o bed early o rise this school year : Day four: so far so good!
I used to teach middle school and junior high, as well as, senior high. Stopped teaching when I has children to be a parent. Now I have 2 teen boys. This is a great article. They need to know there will be consequences for actions, both positive and negative. Children learn by example and integrity is a valuable characteristic.
Just got a little problem which I am facing right now. His mom has three more younger kids to take care of do she is completely happy that I will take him out. Any thoughts? Jack, thank you so much for reading this post and commenting. Bless your heart. Sounds like you are playing an important role in this 14 yr. Also, are you able to communicate with the parents? If so I would suggest running your thoughts by them.
Let them know you want to respect them as parents, but that you are willing to spend some time with their son if they support that. I always lean towards more than less communication. Way to go! Awesome article! Thank you Rebecca! Thanks for commenting! Its published by Hawfbooks. You mentioned scriptures to go along with these points. Do you have that list somewhere? I would love to see it if you do! Great article, great things for kids and parents.
A good book to add to the list, Boys Guide To Girls. Helpful for both boys and for parents. Thank you Gary! Much aloha! It only accepted my auto-fill option. Anyways, I have a 12 yr old boy, who will be turning 13 in less than a month. I have decided that THIS is the more appropriate one for my son at this stage. Thank you for putting your thoughts into words for others like me to glean from!
Now, I have my 12 yr old and a 15 yr old. Soon I will be finished with this task of raising my OWN children and possibly move on to grandchildren. God bless you for blessing and helping so many of us!! Monica, I just found your blog through MOB society and feel very encouraged by reading it. Thank you for taking time to share your insights and experiences, very helpful for a mom of two boys, middle schoolers 12 and God bless, and keep up the good work! Thank you Debi!! So glad you stopped in, and thank you for commenting! How do I help my eighth grade boy deal with friends he has had for years picking on him?
Together they make a group of three sometimes number four is around. Him and number one have been best friends since first grade. Number two is from a large family that tend to pick on each other. This number two has been around a few years. When they all get together now everyone follows number two and makes my son the target of ridicule to the point he comes home very upset. My son has a good sense of humor and can take a joke, but seems to know when enough is enough.
How does a Mom help my son without interfering or embarrassing him? And I what point do I call it quits and recommend he find another circle of friends? My best advice is almost always to communicate. He can put it out there and if there is no respect, then indeed, it could be time to find some better friends. Hang in there, keep talking, showing support, and teaching your boy what is right. I have just recently discovered your blog and love it!!
Still a bit clueless but less as the years go along. I especially agree with your thoughts on engaging in activity. Something about being physical made them loosen up mentally. I role play with my children. Their teenagers now, but as they were growing up, I would take a book, 2 laundry baskets, and a chair into their room when it needed cleaned.
I would read to them as they cleaned their room. I was involved, and in their room as they cleaned. Not one complaint about it. Now as teenagers, they keep their rooms neat as pins. When I finished the book, I would sit there and the conversations were great, we interacted and we both had a great time. When it was time to clean my room, they would read to me, this helped with their reading skills without them even knowing. Ok that is just brilliant!! Love love it! Goodness Gracious! Its like this article was written for me! Thank you so much! Raising boys is tricky!
As a retired high school teacher of 40 years, I would like to acknowledge how applicable your comments and insights are for high school students also. I love this post SO much! Hi Monica.. Thank you for this post.. It really helped me a lot. Got two boys aged 14 and My eldest son is very serious, excels in guitar and academic and hate sports. My other son, on the other hand, is into sports a high red belt in Taekwondo , not into studying but maintains good grades, very moody and a picky eater. Dealing with their different interests and attitudes sometimes make me tired..
Adjusting to their needs and attitudes is like a game for me. Monica, your post really inspires me. It is timely and helpful.
I hope you continue doing this. This is great! I hope everyone can get something out of this… I love your quote about half time, perfect analogy… I have my first middle school boy, uhhhggg it takes patience. Thanks for the article! Most people tell me that these lists apply just as well to girls.
Thanks and aloha! I tell him never take anything from anyone. If you are in awkward position text me I will there asap. Excellent article with specific examples to follow — very clearly written — perfect guidelines to follow for the next few years!!! I love this!! I have three boys with the oldest being 8. Thank you!! Love your words…I too am a mom of 3 boys and a homeschooler…we have had our ups and downs but over the hump with our oldest 15 and yes these years are precious and unfamiliar territory and oh so fun when you can cross that bridge to connect and respect each other.
Thank you so much for your blog…. Thank you for this informative article-it is so true and I wish that I saw more parents wanting to spend this quality time with their kids, it all goes by so quickly as it is and they are truly precious times. Never too late Leslie! And we can all just keep doing better and better. I have an 11 year old and I just want him to be safe and always know he is the love of my life and i am there.
A book, an article that directed you? I am a mother of 4 boys also the first three are now 28,29 and 32 my youngest is 12 and he has a completely different personality than my other 3 did and he is a straight A student, I am hoping this helps me with him I am a single mother and we Mix like oil and water I love my son with all my heart and would love to stop fighting all of the time, I read your articles and they have been very helpful. I want to thank you for sharing your life experiences with all of us.
I will take any advise I can get. I needed this! Totally agree with everything! This is perfect timing for me! My oldest son is a fourth grader and knowing this advice will help me once he enters that stage, which I am extremely terrified of! I click and I find YOU!!! I had no idea you blog! Oh my! This is timely. Now he wants to go back to regular school. We are meeting with the middle school counselor next week to tour the school. My son is homeschooled age 12 and we struggle with him doing chores on his own, but he does do chores everyday.
He loves video games and I was hesitant to let him play with his friends with headphones. I like to know what his friends are saying.
Editorial Reviews. About the Author. Who is Judy H. Wright aka Auntie Artichoke? & What's with Kindle App Ad. Look inside this book. Raising Smart & Kind Kids: The Toddler Years (77 Ways to Parent Series Book Raising Smart & Kind Kids: The Toddler Years (77 Ways to Parent Series Book 10) Kindle Edition. by. Editorial Reviews. About the Author. Judy is a parent educator, family coach, and personal Raising Smart & Kind Kids: The Baby Years (77 Ways to Parent Series Book 10) - Kindle edition by Judy H. Wright, Molly Stockdale. She and Dwain, her husband of 40 years, have six grown children and seven grandchildren.
One day I was doing the dishes, and a kid came on that was a friend of his friend an older boy , when he started cursing loudly, I overheard my son give him a verbal warning about the language and when the boy continued my son put him on mute. I know it must have been hard for him to do that in front of his friends.
I was proud though, that he had the courage to stand up for his values, so this showed he me was old enough to use headphones. I couldnt agree more!! But do have an issue I need help dealing with. I have 3 boys, twins that are 14 and a 10 year old. Their father and I divorced 6 years ago. I am a single mom who works full time and am goin back to school.
My problem is one of the twins moved in with thrir father two years ago, the other twin had had nothing to do with his dad for awhile now? Because everytime he would go there his dad would put me down. He doesnt give bday gifts or christmas gifts to him, but does his twin. Now my 10 year old started crying everytime he has to go there, says his dad is mean to him, saying things like he could careless if he comes there anymore, and he gets in trouble if he tells me anything that goes on there or things his dad says to him.
I tried to tell his father and his gf that we need to sit down and talk about this and they refuse to. So therefore im not making my child go back there if he doesnt want to. Am I doin the right thing and how do you explain to a 10 year old when he cries saying his dad doesnt want him??? Feeling heartbroken for my son:. This is a very sad situation. It frustrates me about the dad. He has the opportunity of the lifetime to speak something worth while into the next generation and he is missing it. I was a single dad for a boy and girl from the ages of 10 and 9 all the way to when they left home.
My house was the teenage hang out house as well. For you, I would contact a counselor on it all, and I think I would contact an attorney for some possible changes in the parenting plan. Think it through though, a good counselor and a good attorney could help with some great ideas. Super good advice, Thank you John!! I was just about to reply but I think you said it best of all.
But I do suggest prayer. It is sad what you say. They are learning some hard life lessons about people. Your boys need to know that you care about them regardless of what others do or say. And that is what I would tell them if they were my boys. That no matter what others do or say I will always be your mom and always love you. That as your mother I am your best friend. You never have to keep any secrets from me and I will always support you in being who you are meant to be.
I am sorry your dad says those things to you. It is not right to be unkind to others. Enjoy spending time with your brothers while you are there. Keep them safe first. I am SO sorry Jaime! My heart just breaks for your situation. Keep praying and seeking solutions. This should not be left alone. I think things could get better. Hang in there and keep me posted. I think this has helped him become more mature. And TONS of prayer!!! The Lord has all the anwers we need and is the strong foundation we and our MS boys can fall back on… Thanks again!
I do believe that the articles are great and Perfect Timing! However, why is it that adults keep calling my son unethical and that he has no values all because after extensive teaching of many religions he has chosen not to worship a god and feels that so far throughout history, all wars have been based in some way on religion! Perhaps he is ahead of his 11 years but he has made the conclusion on his own and should not be meant to feel inferior and chastised for his current very clear and pertinent ideas!
We have chosen not to brainwash him into believing but rather teach him about the history of all religion and allow him to learn and explore the good, bad, and ugly of them all so he can grow up making an educated decision as he gets older as to join a religion or remain athiest. Please stop the comments that without our all mighty God and praising Jesus is the only way to get through this! Stop and have in depth conversations with your children and maybe, just maybe, you might learn something from them and they will then be comfortable opening up to you and letting you know exactly what they need during this very wild and changing time of their lives.
Why are you reading this blog???? This woman obviously believes that God can help her in raising her sons! She truly believes this and if you have problem with that then stop reading her blog!!! She has not told you are tried to persuade you that God is the only way. She is writing what she believes!! Nothing aggravates me more than people who are only tolerant when someone believes what they believe!!! There are enough blogs and videos and speeches and websites on the internet that surely you can find one that agrees with your way of thinking instead of bashing someone elses way of thinking!!!
In my experience of raising 4 boys and one girl, It helped our children knowing that there is a higher power to answer too. That all of us, even us parents, are accountable for all that we do. Good day friend! Brilliantly worded and so right. It is hard for us to imagine that our boys are growing into Men. Boys can so loving and cuddly and try so hard to please us. Then hormones happen and we are taken aback. We have to learn how to let go while at the same time guiding them to adulthood. He has just turned ten. Fantastically stated! Thank you for sharing these insightful and important reminders.
Your sage advice and writing style have created another follower. This is so thoughtful and spot on. I have 2 boys and want to parent them well. Love you site! Thank you so much. Good motivation to read your post early in the morning swiss time to get ready for the day with my two sons!! Its hard work day by day but it comes back, its rewarding and wonderful to see what they do, who they are and what they achieve.
Your posts are the best!! Again and again.. I have to say, so glad that I found your Site Greetings from Switzerland! Oh yes! Thank you for your thoughtful insight and the reminder I see in so many of your posts — that 13 year old boys and moms, dads, sons, daughters, etc. Amen, sister! It makes so much sense and I think if we put it across our middle schooler in points, they will understand it better. Parents really need to consider what their kids will be exposed to if they get them a Smart phone with internet or Wi-fi.
There is so much negative pressure with social media like Instagram, Twitter and Snap Chat. Thanks for this post, Monica. This is so timely for us. We are homeschooling our 11 year old and dealing with this now. A very helpful post! I commend all you moms that home school…. My boys go public school and sometimes I cringe at the things kids are exposed to in schools, at all levels. I really agree with all you say in your post.
I am also am amazed every day how different my 2 boys are and I think it is really important to keep that in mind as a parent. What work for one child might not work for the other…. Thank you for another great post Monica. Thanks for this post! We have been struggling with our 13 year old eighth grader that looks more like a 16 year old. I will definitely be sharing the 11 points above with my husband. I have an 11 year old; he will be 12 next month. We home school too. He is really struggling with lack of self control and mood swings. Mainly lack of self control with respecting me and picking on his little sisters.
He is a great kid and I know he is just growing up and wanting more independence. I have been thinking a lot about your manta: With freedom comes responsibility. He also asks everyday about getting a cell phone. You know, because all his friends have one. Lots to think about. Thanks so much for sharing. Praying with your middle school son will have such an impact on him! Please pray with your children! They are your gift…remember to thank them for that! Chef Cathy Z. Yes Cathy! We do pray often with all of our boys, and I know that their relationship with God is their very secure foundation!
It is a medical fact that the frontal lobe of the brain that controls seeing results is not mature in a middle school child. A middle school child can not think ahead to see what may happen if he does whatever. The parents must instill and point out the results.
Everything that I have read me and my husband is doing. We love our son so much. We are dealing with him not wanting to tell the truth because he thinks its easy that way then to tell us the truth. His thing he does not want to be yelled at. Yessss I got him tested and he passed all of the testing. Now we ask him why and the thought process is not there so we tell him over and over the results we do the visual.
My son is acting just like yours is. He is eleven. The only thing I think that will work is constant repeating your wishes until he complies with you. I take away priveledges and I also constantly talk to him telling him why he must or must not do things. I explain to him why certain behaviors are wrong. The lying He continues with for the same reason as your son; he does not want to get yelled at. Maybe we need to stop yelling when things happen and try to be cooler. Skip to content Skip to primary sidebar Skip to footer Hey Friends! Middle School. I know, I know.
They reminded him that the phone was dependent on a maturity level, not an age. Leave a Reply Cancel reply Your email address will not be published. Comments My son is a great kid. Hi Monica. Fantastic with hope! This topic fills such a need in our world and church! LauiePOP Ideas. I really appreciate those who know how and do share. Thank you for this! I would love to know your favorite bible verses that you use as well as your go to verses.
I need advice on what to do about my 14yr. Old boys anger issues with me. Monica, my son received a text message from his friend today: There is something I have to tell you………… I…….. Thank you for taking the time to comment! I love to hear that Kylie! Well done and keep it up!