3 Ways to Connect with Your Middle Schoolers ~
Written by Purva Brown of The Classical Unschooler
Something has changed around here lately, and I’m not sure how I feel about it. Overnight it seems my older two children have grown up. And the trajectory of my mom life has changed completely. Where, in 2019, I was mostly concerned with having time to myself, now most of my worry revolves around what my middle schoolers are doing.
“Are they making good decisions?” I wonder, realizing the old ways of talking to them no longer work. They tend to talk to each other a lot more than they talk to their father and me and when they do, the conversation is short and to the point.
I spend so much time with them around, but still feel like we don’t share the same world. Of course, I anticipated this change; I even welcome it. But part of me is a little miffed that I have lost my position as Head Queen in their minds and that they don’t hang on my every word as the youngest still does. (Less so, lately but hey, I’ll take what I can get.)
What is a mom to do? Maybe you’re in a similar place? Follow along then as I share three ways to connect with your middle schoolers.
3 Ways to Connect with Your Middle Schoolers
I will be the first to admit I am not musical in the least. I couldn’t even tell you what genre is my favorite; it all depends on my mood. But my oldest daughter seems to have inherited her musical talent from my husband, a bit of an autodidact.
He taught himself to play the guitar by watching YouTube videos and he shows my daughter a few things here and there. We haven’t enrolled the children in formal lessons.
However, one of the ways I have learned to connect with them is just to listen to some of the music they enjoy. This is not about “being the cool mom,” but a way of being involved and connecting with them. I remember shunning all popular music when the kids were little.
I worried about it being a bad influence on them. I have since loosened up and prefer to discuss and talk about it with the children and, yes, listen to it with them in the car. Open lines of communication with the kids mean more to me these days than the lyrics.
We have recently added this into our weekly routine and I absolutely love it. When we were living in California, my husband had a game group he met with twice a month to play Pathfinder, which is a role playing game. It all looked fascinating, but I was never involved.
When we moved to Washington and COVID hit, all chances of playing with anyone outside the family vanished. So we started our own adventure! I didn’t think I would enjoy it as much as I did, but I now look forward to our Wednesday evening games.
I don’t read aloud as much as I used to, now that the children are older, but this gives me the same feeling that reading aloud did.
We all get to inhabit a world together that’s just us and I love it as a bonding experience. Plus, it’s fascinating to watch the decisions my children make. It’s a lot of fun.
I know. This seems like an odd way to reach your children, but I tell you… it works every single time!
We have always encouraged work for money, but involving them in small financial decisions goes beyond the basics. It’s a great way to engage and build trust and also show them the ropes.
One thing I have learned with my kids is that they have to be shown something multiple times for it to stick. With that in mind, just reminding them to turn off the lights and fans isn’t enough. I have to also show them the electric bill and the mortgage bill.
It’s a gentle way to introduce them to the skills they will need in adulthood without being didactic. Conversations about career choice flow a lot more easily if they are already involved in everyday talk about money.
The elementary years were the tough ones when it came to homeschooling, but I am learning to appreciate these middle school years. Our hard work has begun to pay off and we can enjoy our time with the children.
They definitely still need the guidance and – much to my surprise – I need the interaction with them. I love watching the people they are becoming–right in front of my eyes!
How do you connect with your middle schoolers? I’d love to learn even more ways!
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