Middle School: Your Role in Your Child’s Schooling
For kids with ADHD, the change from elementary to middle school can be tough. Previously, your child probably had lots of guidance and structure in elementary school. The teachers wanted them to get good grades. The teachers wanted them to turn in homework on time. Now, it is hard for teachers to focus on one student, because they teach so many students altogether. In middle school, students are expected to be more independent, confident, and respectful, which can be a big difference for some children. During middle school, students are experiencing changes in their body that they never expected. These changes can be especially tough for kids with ADHD. Here are some ways to help your child cope with the social, academic, and personal changes that they are feeling.
1. ENCOURAGE YOUR CHILD TO PARTICIPATE IN EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES
Extracurricular activities provide a great environment for students to meet new people by participating in an activity with others. This can help shy children learn to come out of their shell, and can help your child meet students who have the same interests.
2. FIND A MENTOR
Middle school children often are not willing or able to ask their parents for guidance, because they want to feel independent, too. If your child needs help with organization, academics, etc. it is great for them to have a mentor at school. This should be a trusted adult at school, such as a coach, a favorite teacher, or a guidance counselor. Your child will have lots of support and perspective to draw on from their mentor.
3. ENCOURAGE YOUR CHILD TO HANG OUT WITH FRIENDS AT HOME
It is great to have your child build friendships in a place without peer-pressure and bullying. By encouraging your middle school child to have three or four friends over at a time, your child will learn skills like confidence, respect, and character. For example, your child may enjoy having friends over to play video games, watch a football game, or an MTV Video Awards party.
4. BE A SOCIAL SKILLS COACH FOR YOUR CHILD
During the transition between elementary school and middle school, students begin to care more about pleasing their peers instead of pleasing adults. Sometimes, this pressure can have cause frustration for your child, especially if they have problems picking up cues from their surroundings. Explain to your child that social skills are important in High School, College and in a career. Demonstrate and practice to help develop their social skills, especially if your child has trouble making friends, or they are very shy.