My favorite middle child turned 13 this last week, (Grace is my only middle child). This may sound scary to some parents, but I have no fear! Ok maybe a little fear, but I have been through this once before. Grace is a sweet girl and very silly. Grace rocks at the drums, loves mechanical pencils and enjoys imaginary play. She also wrote her will out once, before she left for a ski trip…..so I guess she is practical (however this was a bit disturbing as a mother).
Being that it was Grace’s birthday, we celebrated with a slumber party, (in which there was no slumber involved because middle school girls like to stay up all night). While celebrating her birthday (and watching her friend shove cake in her face), I was reminded just why I love this awkward age of girls. Don’t get me wrong, I never enjoyed living these years myself, but I love being around middle school girls. In fact when I was a camp counselor during college, I absolutely loved working with middle school girls because if you told them to jump into the ice-cold lake with all their clothes on, they would do it. High school girls were far fussier about what they would do and what was cool.
With all the changes middle school kids go through, its no wonder these years are formative in developing a healthy self -image. It’s easy to treat your middle school child like an alien because truly they often act like one. More than once I have asked, “WHO IS THIS CHILD?”
In the midst of life changes, body changes and hormone changes, it’s easy to forget about the little girl or boy inside that still needs lots of love and reinsurance.
Here are some of my observations of the middle school child:
Each of my children has had a lot of anxiety leaving grade school and entering middle school. This meant tears, moodiness and often outbursts. Once school started, everything was ok again. Knowing what I know now, I would still fear entering middle school. It’s a tough season.
Each of the girls are/were difficult to shop for during these years. They do not want to buy clothing from the kid’s section, but the teen section is too big. Finding bathing suits is nearly impossible. Sure, there are stores that cater to the tweens, but apparently they don’t cater to those people on a budget.
Each of my girls had to deal with vicious girl drama during 5th, 6th and 7th grade. Seems like this settled down for Julia in 8th and 9th grade. Girls can be vicious. Ok….women can be vicious too and it’s just sad.
Middle school girls talk a lot. We have not seen any changes in this area with our high school girl.
Middle school kids often walk without swinging their arms…..seriously, just watch sometime.
Middle school kids still like to play. I continue to find giant messes from my two younger children who often use their imagination to create fun play. When Julia entered high school (maybe even before this), Julia was less likely to play certain games with her sisters, and this was really hard on the younger two. They actually mourned the loss of a playmate and Grace and Isabel could not always understand why Julia had grown out of some of the games.
These are just a few of my observations. As Julia (my oldest) always says, “the oldest child is like the lab rat. “ So true! Julia paved the road and trained, educated and prepared us for her sisters. Yes, these are challenging years with lots of emotion and changes but I am continually amazed at how beautiful, complex, creative and wonderful these middle school girls are.
Specializing in Marriage and Family Therapy
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