This is an excerpt from my book, Middle School Years Without Tears: Creating and Managing for Wonderful, Awesome, Successful, and Thrilling Middle School Experiences.
All communication styles change with different situations and places. For example, foul language, degrading content, or yelling is not tolerated at the school setting. Grocery stores, libraries, churches, movie theaters, banks, tennis matches, golf tournaments, or football playoffs all have different expectations and allowances of communication. Schools expect polite, low-toned, and respectful communication. This needs to be understood and demonstrated in schools, thus, the importance of finding ways that allow for student communication with some stronger emotions at home.
“I want to have communication with my child, but at times it is hard. Sometimes, I am at a loss for words. Sometimes my child acts so bizarre that I don’t know what to say!”
It must be stated here to be positive and steady. Remember, you are the one not on the middle school roller coaster. Your hormones are relatively stable as compared to a middle schooler. Keep asking about your child’s day, about friends, about homework and upcoming projects, and about future plans such as what would be a good weekend activity.
Can you embrace the bizarre? It’s middle school so ask what weird things happened during the day because weird things are always happening in middle school. Ask if anyone farted, vomited, put markers, erasers, or pencils up their noses, threw gum and missed the trash can, or fell asleep during classes.
Inquire about what your child ate for lunch, who spilled their food today, who made a greenish solution from all the leftover food and drink on the food tray, and who threw a grape tomato at someone. Find out who drooled on their desks, who skipped down the hall singing “Jingle Bells,” and what boy had 15 ponytails in his hair by the end of the day. (Yes, I’ve seen all of these!)
Probe if there was a fire drill today, who drew what on their hands and arms for middle schoolers view skin the same as paper, who did cartwheels down the hallway, and who supposedly kissed whom. All these things create the magic of middle school. It really is a wonderful, awesome, successful, and thrilling place!