Growing up comes with its own set of challenges and there is no doubt that preadolescence is a challenging period but not only for your kids going through it; for you as parents too. Some kids find it difficult to adjust to the new challenges this stage brings and, as a result, some morph into a brooding, silent, moody creature, leaving parents scrambling for help.
Adolescence: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly
The truth is your child is faced with the task of dealing with a new surge of hormones, so much of the cause is biological and you may just have to ride it out, knowing that this too will pass. In the past the emphasis was on adolescents as they were considered a vulnerable group but new research is indicating that preadolescents - eighth graders in particular - are going through new struggles and parents across the board are stressed as a result. In fact (and this may come as a total surprise) the flip side of the coin is also telling: parents of newborns and grown ups tend to be living a much more fulfilling life than those of children in middle school.
Still, we have to do what we can to help our kids through this tough period. This will not be easy, as at times the best thing parents can do is watch their kids struggle to fit in and seek the approval of their peers. Be prepared for the tears because one minute they will be easy going and adorable and the next minute they will be resistant and insolent. This is when you should assume the role of parent and set boundaries and, while you empathize you should not overlook bad behavior in the name of hormones.
Depressed Moms - You Are Not Alone
It might be helpful to know that even though you may feel swamped during this period, you are not alone. You are not the only one growing through this. In fact, there is a throng of parents across the country who are sighing just as loudly as you are. The good news is, however, this stage will pass and behavior generally improves as kids near the end of middle school. It may seem like forever until you and your kids get there, and some parents even experience depression, but keep your eyes on the long-term prize: it generally passes. If you feel you need to be more proactive, you can try taking a turmeric supplement to help lift your mood and give you energy. Before taking any nutritional supplement, please consult with your physician.
If however, you find yourself getting desperate because of the pressure that comes with parenting a middle school kid, don't be afraid or ashamed to seek help. Children do not pop out with their own instruction manuals attached and all parents have to engage in trial and error from time. And yes, most if not all of the parents question their parenting skills at one point or another.
As adults, we sometimes forget that we went through the same stages and lived to tell the tale. So your child, with the proper guidance, supervision, encouragement and love will survive the challenges that are sometimes compounded by being surrounded by their peers in middle school.