5 Essential Truths About Raising Middle Schoolers

I’ve survived three transitions from elementary to middle school in a 4-year span. I’m thankful each of my kids’ first years of middle school happened so close together even if it did feel like the chaotic bursts of fireworks the entire time. I was always startled and had long spells of forgetting to breathe.

boys at school
Middle school is a big step up from elementary school.

Transition from Elementary to Middle School

Their social life really picks up and so does their smart mouth.

Middle schoolers start talking to you in ways they never have before. They try and do less around the house and get away with more. Their social circle is the most important thing to them and Friday family nights are replaced by driving them around so they can hang with their people.

Every polite chip they have seems to disappear during the first year of middle school and it seems like they have no fear about the consequences for their smart mouth, or rude comments.

Their showering habits change.

Showers get more frequent. And longer. Also, they start requesting things like special deodorant, fruity, expensive body washes and body sprays. Your water bill doubles and you are constantly buying new razors and special face creams for them to try for the first time.

They are unable to wake up in the morning.

Gone are the days when they jump out of bed and scare the living day lights out of you with their kazoo at 4:30 a.m. on a Tuesday. They aren’t excited for the first day of school. They don’t wake before the sunrise on Christmas morning. You are able to sleep in a bit but you can’t because you worry about everyone being up and ready for school and games and other events on time. And in some ways, you miss them being young because you never had to worry about setting an alarm.

You will be more confused than you have ever been.

Their friends will change faster than their moods as well as what style they’ll be sporting, and the lingo they use. As soon as you get used them using a certain word and you find out what it means and start plugging it into your vocab to be relatable and cool, they will be “so over it.”

My daughter has dyed her hair 6 different times since the 6th grade. She went from blond tips, to blue tops, to full-on red, to black, then back to her natural color. Now she is thinking about purple and I am hoping the mood passes because the fumes didn’t help my middle-school anxiety in the least.

They may lose interest in things they used to love.

Oh, this is a tough one. My son used to play every team sport under the sun and then he quit everything in the 7th grade. I miss going to watch his baseball games (the snack shack had killer onions rings), and there was nothing like driving him to basketball before Christmas watching the snowfall then going out for a burger on a Saturday afternoon.

But the important thing is, he wasn’t into said sports any longer and it was affecting him and his teammates. While it was sad for me, he felt relieved and honestly, we still go out for a burger almost every Saturday so I’ll take it.

If you are struggling with the transition to middle school, you are not alone. I’ve talked to several parents who feel as if their children were replaced by aliens as soon as they walked through the doors of their new school and they are awaiting their child’s return.

My advice is to stock up on your favorite snacks and start a texting chain with other parents going through the dreaded middle school years. Oh, and keep a fine (or cheap) wine in easy reach.

You survived the newborn years and come out the other side much the wiser. The toddler years seem like a walk in the park compared to this. You will survive these tumultuous years even if it feels like you are trying to crack open dried cement with a tooth pick. Eventually, it’ll work.


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About Katie BinghamSmith

Katie Bingham-Smith lives in Maine with her three kids. She is a Staff Writer at Scary Mommy, shoe addict and pays her kids to rub her feet. You can see more of her on Facebook and Instagram .

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