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Lizabeth Jenkins-Dale

Veteran teacher, mom, and author sharing empowerment strategies for middle schoolers and their parents to make these years wonderful, awesome, successful, and thrilling!

The Inner and Outer Beauty of Wintertime

 

 

Dormant trees. Flowerless gardens. Gray days. Colder weather. Wintertime can be tough. For some people, it is just a period of time to “get through” to reach the other seasons. But, is there a purpose for winter? What messages can it hold for all of us? I do believe all of Life is for us so there must be some reason the winter season exists…purposeful, positive reasons.

 

Time to reset ourselves. Nature is doing it, and perhaps, it is for us to do, too. The trees and plants are not using as much energy these days. Dormancy has its benefits. Winter can be a very relaxing season. Sitting by the fire. Enjoying hot meals such as soup. Why? For what purpose? Time to reset. January is the top of the new year. What do you want to achieve this year? What does 2023 hold for you? What are your goals? In this relaxed state of dormant winter, ponder the next 11 months. How do you want to spend them? What do you want to keep from 2022? What is new that you want to include in the new year. Just as the trees and plants are relaxing, yet preparing for spring, you can, too, relax as you make your 2023 plans. 

 

Body, spirit, and mind rest. Shorter days provide the perfect excuse for rejuvenation both physically and mentally. Spiritually, it is a simpler time to connect with one’s divinity. The calming effect of gray skies with barren trees can allow us to go within during this time for where are the green leaves right now? They’re inside awaiting the perfect conditions to appear. Where are the flower buds? They are within the plant. If we mimic this behavior, there just might be blessings awaiting us.

 

Perspective. Less activity now provides the contrast of the spring, summer, and fall month in which activity is usually at an all time high. How would we know busy if we don’t know relaxation? How do we know our quiet selves unless we experience our busy selves? Both are needed for a life well lived. To know one is to know the other. Allowing this slower time of the year to provide the activity contrast provides the perspective of the need for activity and inactivity for a balanced life.

 

Too often, it is too easy to view a cold, gray day as depressing. When looking deeper, we find peace, calm, preparation, balance, and relaxation in this season. As a parent and author, I say this statement often, “Perspective is everything.” In the case of wintertime, perspective is, indeed, an ally. Enjoy this time with deep gratitude!

 

 

Celebrations All Around for 2022 and 2023!

 

 

I’ve been through enough New Years transitions now to have a new perspective on them: no judgment. Just observation. 

 

What I mean by this is to keep it real, personal, and loving. Judgment doesn’t work well for any subject for any of the 365 days of the year so why bring judgment into this topic now? Observing what was accomplished in 2022 to develop new goals for 2023 sounds real, personal, and loving. It’s an exciting time of the year so let’s utilize that excitement to move forward.

 

List all of your achievements in 2022. You’ll probably be surprised by what pops up. I was doing this with my husband earlier today, and he reminded me of many items on our list. It was thrilling to relive what we were able to to achieve together!

 

In that excitement, step up to the new year with, “What’s next?” energy. Create a new list for 2023. Don’t hold back. Dream. sense the ideas bubble up from within you.

 

I know…not everything was peaches and cream in 2022. What is the task for those things? As with anything, you always have options.

 

  1. List the unwanted events and ceremonially burn the list while stating, “You are complete.”
  2. List the unwanted events and while looking at them state, “I am bigger than this. I am more than this.”
  3. List the unwanted events and have a good laugh because infusing laughter into each event lessens the intensity of them.

 

 

Don’t like lists? Don’t want to even think about what happened in 2022? You have options!

  1. Stand tall outside with hands on hips and state, “All negativity from 2022 and previous years is now complete and will not be brought forth into 2023.”
  2. Look in the mirror and state, “I only bring with me that what I need to grow in 2023 to my fullest potential.”
  3. Write in your personal journal as often as it feels good: 2023 is my year of complete freedom. 2023 is my year of complete potential realized.

 

In basic numerology, the year 2023 reduces to the number seven. Do your own search for the positive, spiritual meaning of our dear number seven. It’s going to be an exciting year, for sure!

 

 

Creating A Holiday Plan With Your Teen

 

 

Ohhhhhhh! The childish love of the holidays always returns every year! It is the best time of the year, right?

 

The holidays can be wonderful…and stressful trying to create and match the holiday grandeur we have created in our minds. TV commercials, songs, and movies make us think of the perfect holiday experience which is impossible to bring into existence for who has real elves, reindeer, and an encounter with Santa in one’s own living room?

 

So we strive for the most we can do with what funds we have, the time we have, and the resources we have.

 

As our children age, their perfect holiday experience changes. Little ones seem to go with the flow much more easily than teens who are no doubt thinking of their friends and any special romantic interests. Family isn’t enough to fulfill the complete holiday experience created in a teen’s mind. It’s time to have an open discussion and to create a holiday plan with your teen to avoid:

  • moodiness
  • hurt feelings
  • emotional outbursts
  • withdrawn behaviors
  • a sense that something was missing after the holidays are over

 

Think back to your holiday experience when you were a middle schooler or a high schooler. Was there someone you wanted to spend time with, but didn’t due to family obligations? Were there friends you wished you could see? 

 

While family is sooooo important to the whole holiday experience, it’s not the whole experience to a teen. Just as we adults have fun with friends, it is important for teens to do the same. A plan is needed. A discussion (or two) is needed. Safety is priority. Agreement is mandatory.

 

Ask:

  • what would you like to experience this holiday season?
  • are there any places you’d like to go?
  • are there any different foods you’d like to eat?
  • are there friends you’d like to include in your holiday season?
  • do you have a special someone you’d like to include? Get a gift for?
  • what is your favorite part of our past holiday experiences?

 

On the other side of this topic is the request for more help with holiday preparations. How can your teen help more? Play an important role? Be more involved since he/she is older?

 

Gather a couple of mugs and some cocoa and have a good discussion about your teen’s vision for the upcoming holiday experiences. This is honoring your teen and will establish a pattern of openness to discuss other topics as well.

 

 

The Emerging New Human From Chaos

 

 

The truth is that we have been emerging, growth, and traveling toward spiritual ascension for a looooong time now, but in this year, 2022,  progress to be made is quite profound and capable of swifter movement forward. The chaos we are witnessing on a global scale is similar to our own personal struggle or when two brothers “duke it out” to achieve peace again.

 

With so much manipulated information being broadcasted 24/7, are you noticing yourself experiencing a more defined personal sense of Truth because you sense the manipulation? It’s more of an acknowledgment of what’s inside of you speaking, swelling up to the top of your conscious/awareness of what is clearly your Truth. Therefore, the chaos has had purpose for you.

 

It is the same with parenting the children who have arrived recently. They are up to speed with life here on Earth coming into their bodies, they are listening to their internal Wisdoms, and they have a clear understanding of their purposes for being in these bodies. They see through the chaos…unless it’s been removed from them. Unless they’ve been told too many times that their Truths aren’t correct. Unless they now believe that someone else’s Truth is correct.

 

Parenting these New Humans requires to see the big picture and to remind them of Who They Really Are and to show them how to listen to their personal internal Divine Wisdoms. We parents must see the New Human within ourselves first in order to show it to our kids. We are different than the generations before us because we…were up to speed with life here on Earth coming into our bodies in whatever year we arrived, we were listening to our internal Wisdoms, and we had a clear understanding of our purposes for being in these bodies. We saw through the chaos of that time…unless it was removed from us. Unless we were told too many times that our Truths weren’t correct. Unless we believed that someone else’s Truth was correct.

 

Let’s fix this generational, traditional parenting style issue into a co-creative, New Human experience for all. Let’s make sure all kids arriving now and recently Who They Really Are and how to listen to their own personal Divine Wisdoms. 

 

From the chaos comes clarity. The chaos creates the need to develop within us our focus on own Truths in order to show how to do it to our young. For those of us now doing this, let’s do it with confidence today while the others still commingling with the chaos eventually will find their Truths.

 

This is empowerment parenting. This is spiritual parenting. This is seeing the big picture. This is the path of the New Human!

 

 

 

 

Summer: A Good Time For School Perspective

 

I love the dynamics, diversity, growth potential, and awkwardness of middle school. In three short years, young humans transform from grade school students to high school students. This is no small feat!

 

It’s difficult, however, for middle school students to see the big picture of their schooling. Why is it structured the way it is? Why do teachers teach the way they do? What is the point of middle school? While in the midst of the day-to-day middle school routine, it is challenging to answer these questions AND have them heard. Summer is a great time for middle schoolers to gain middle school perspective!

 

Parents help students see the big picture of the day-to-day, hour-by-hour school experience. So can my book, Empowering Kids: School, written for middle schoolers, can help you help your student see the big picture of the entire middle school experience. 

 

I explain, for example, why teachers provide a whole year’s curriculum in 180 days instead of all of it at once. Each day is a step, a piece, or a part of the whole. Fortunately for kids, the curriculum is sectioned into small units of study.

 

In addition, teachers create these units to fit together with other subject’s units for what is called interdisciplinary or cross curriculum instruction. A writing teacher may create a unit about history coordinating with the history’s teacher’s unit about WWII. The science teacher may create a unit about diseases, germs, and the origin of antiseptics and disinfectants with an emphasis on war.

 

Side note: Joseph Lister in the 1800s was first to introduce antiseptic surgery. Now can you guess where the product name Listerine came from? These connections of history to present life help students learn. What other fun facts can your child discover this summer?

 

Chapter titles include:

Choose to value the educational offerings your teachers plan and provide you every day.

Choose to explore all the educational avenues available to you, and they are all available to you.

Choose to adopt that you can become anything you want because if you can dream it, it already exists.

Choose to know every single person on the planet learns in his or her own unique way.

Choose to marvel at the “incredibles” regarding your school.

Choose to participate in events, activities, and situations that are pro only.

Choose to view every grade and assessment as your opportunity.

 

Empowering Kids: School is a very valuable resource for your child. It is beneficial for you as well. Would your life benefit from a less whiny child during the school year? Would you benefit if your child could understand his or her teachers better? Would you benefit if your child understood what a lower-than-expected grade really is and took responsibility for it? Yes! Yes! Yes! Get Empower Kids: School for your child now and see the difference the information in the book can make in your household for the fall.

 

 

Student To Teacher Communication

 

I listened! Middle School Years Without Tears: Creating and Managing for Wonderful, Awesome, Successful, and Thrilling Middle School Experiences is now available in paperback! 

 

If you’re the type of person who loves to hold, look at, and smell a book in your hands, then the good news is that this book is available in paperback. Get your copy today and incorporate EMPOWERED middle school parenting into your life!

 

The following is an excerpt from the book, Middle School Years Without Tears: Creating and Managing for Wonderful, Awesome, Successful, and Thrilling Middle School Experiences. 

 

Socrates had a good teaching protocol way back in the 300s BC. He encouraged learning through the questioning from his students. He drew answers out of them because he believed the answers were already inside of them. Socrates understood the satisfaction he could have regarding teaching was dependent on the satisfaction his students were having. It’s a symbiotic relationship: a relationship where both parties are benefit and neither is damaged.

 

Your child’s teachers may or may not be in synch with such a relationship. Your child’s teachers may not be anywhere near this understanding, but the fact remains, these are your child’s teachers so, how can you help your child have a positive experience with all of her teachers anyway? Here are some strategies and suggestions to do just that.

 

 

Your Student Communicates First

Encourage your child to communicate first with the teachers on his or her own before you, the parent, intervene. This promotes speaking up for oneself, learning how to communicate to a person in authority, and how to maintain positive relations regardless of a favorable outcome or not. Invaluable confidence can develop during such personal contact. The student learns to negotiate an issue, concern, or problem. A teacher may offer an alternative or compromise to the student’s request and this provides fertile soil for developing negotiating skills with others.

 

Before and during classes are the least effective and the least desired ways to go about communicating with teachers. Teachers are quite preoccupied at these times especially at the beginning of the lesson. It is to a student’s benefit to be wise about the timing and the approach. There are many commonsense, positive ways to do this.

 

  • Upon entering the classroom, a student can ask to speak to the teacher after class.
  • Upon entering the room, give the teacher a note regarding speaking to the teacher after class.
  • E-mail the teacher to schedule a time to talk.
  • Talk to the teacher during lunch.
  • Talk to the teacher during the teacher’s planning time with prior approval.

 

Approaching the teacher is just as important as the conversation itself. This teaches the importance of how to get someone’s attention so that what you have to say is heard well.

 

 

For additional strategies to guide your child to communicate well with his or her middle school teachers, read Middle School Years Without Tears: Creating and Managing for Wonderful, Awesome, Successful, and Thrilling Middle School Experiences …now available in paperback.

 

 

100 Middle School Meditations For Parents Now Published

These 100 mediations in this journal are meant to positively expand how you see the events and situations that your child experiences. How can you address them with empowered parenting? This book offers new perspective so that you can Embrace The Extraordinary Experience With Empowerment! Get your copy here: https://www.amazon.com/Middle-School-Meditations-Mothers-Fathers/dp/B09P7PCYLD/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2RJWCEVS1I2UA&keywords=lizabeth+jenkins+dale&qid=1643408753&sprefix=lizabeth+jenkins%2Caps%2C99&sr=8-1

New Book Released On Amazon June 16th!

Description:

Okay…you’re LIVING the middle school experience along side of your kid. And, because of that, this book is for you! Just what is he doing all day? The facts are here…the realistic middle school descriptions written into this book just for you, the parents. As you read this book, you’ll feel like you are standing right there in the hallways of your child’s school. What is it like to be your daughter in middle school? How does she make it from class to class? The sights, sounds, AND smells are here awaiting your eyes to read…and experience.

After teaching middle school for 10 years, 14-time author, Lizabeth Jenkins-Dale brings the honest, no-holding-back truth of what it is like to be a middle schooler and a middle school teacher in today’s schools. This perspective gained will assist you to be the best middle school parent ever. With knowledge of what the experience is, you can be more understanding and supportive.

What does your middle schooler need after school? How to handle homework blues? What is personality experimentation and what are the benefits? What is the best approach when you catch your middle schooler lying? What options do you have when you find yourself in the principal’s office staring at another student’s parents over a classroom dispute? What is middle school common sense? What is the best way for you to speak about your child’s school to your friends, family, and your child? How can you guard your child from the barrage of requests to know his or her grades? What can you do about your child’s shortcomings? These questions and more are answered in this interactive book, which is packed full of useful information and strategies written by veteran educator and former middle school mom, Lizabeth Jenkins-Dale.

Parent to Middle Schooler Communication II

 

 

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!

 

 

Parent to Middle Schooler Communication

 

 

This is an excerpt from my book, Middle School Years Without Tears: Creating and Managing for Wonderful, Awesome, Successful, and Thrilling Middle School Experiences.

 

 

Even though it’s important, many parents struggle with communication with their middle schooler.

 

“Everything seemed to change when my daughter entered sixth grade. It began at the end of her fifth grade year. I kept trying to talk with her, but she was shying away from me. She wasn’t sharing as much with me. It nearly broke my heart.”

 

I get it. It’s a strange phase. Middle school can be strange. It is logical, then, that talking to a middle schooler could be strange, too. Talking face to face is the number one and best way to communicate, but it may not always go well. Some situations do warrant other methods of communication. If you have talked and talked, then more talking will not be best perhaps. A unique diversion could do the trick. I have heard stories about one day all is fine, and the next day parents really do not know who or what is in the same place as their son or daughter’s skin, but it is not their child. Overnight, their precious off-spring feels alien. If talking becomes difficult or you would just like additional ways to communicate with your child, here are some alternatives. Of course, if communication becomes a really big issue, then professional help is advised.

 

  1. Miscellaneous Communications

Send an e-mail. Mail a letter to school for the child to be received at school. Mail a letter to where your child is ie: ex-spouse’s house, camp, or friend’s house. Put sticky notes on the mirror to be receive in the AM or after school or after practice. Place notes in the lunch bag, on your child’s agenda, or in a sports bag. Leave voice mail messages on the home phone to be received after school or on cell phone.

 

  1. Non-verbal Communication

Additionally, non-verbal communication can be quite useful in this situation – try using sign language. For example, use the time out referee hand signal to indicate a time out, a stoppage, or a calm is needed. This can be especially useful if there is heated communication. Using the raised pointer finger as the one moment sign is useful for when you need to pause to think. Using the palm up sign to indicate a time out, a stoppage, or a calm is needed will be understood by all. Using the thumbs up indicates approval. The peace sign, two fingers up, can show agreement. Have fun creating your own special family hand signals.

 

  1. Silent Conversation

Silent conversation is not only effective, but fun. Whatever you want to say is written down on paper and each person takes a turn writing something in response to the previous writing. One piece of paper, or a notebook, is used which is shared and pushed back and forth between you and your teen. Absolutely nothing is said. Everythingis written. Even laughter is written in the form of “Ha ha” or a drawn laughing face. This slows down the conversation, provides think time, and decelerates reaction time. It gives each person a chance to truly think what the other is communicating.

 

  1. Venting Permission

Give your child the gift of a venting session every now and then. With prior knowledge and at an arranged time, your child is allowed to vent and to say anything for about five minutes. With your parental broader view of life and understanding, you know how healthy this is, and by allowing such a communication without judgment, you are truly giving a gift to your child. Is there any speech that is off limits to you and your family such as cursing? Can this be allowed during this time? If not, do you realize the benefit of allowing no restrictions for this venting session? You will truly hear just how upset your child is if there are no restrictions.

 

This communication technique gives your child the opportunity to get it all out. Using the anger pillow mentioned in my first book as prescribed by your family’s set of parameters might greatly assist with this session, too. Your child will be in a better state to communicate and to be a receptive listener if the emotional explosion – an emotional release of resistance – is allowed.

 

Whenyougive the permission for the emotional explosion to occur, then you give yourself the gift of time to prepare for it. If it happens without your knowing or permission, you are caught off-guard. You might be thrown off by it and react negatively yourself. Everyone needs a proper time and place to blow some steam. Your middle schooler is an up-and-coming adult who is on a roller coaster with hormones raging through the body. Who could need this communication strategy more? Just about every middle schooler! Of course, this technique would then be followed up with listing many options to improve whatever brought on the need for venting.

 

For communication suggestions 5-10, read Middle School Years Without Tears: Creating and Managing for Wonderful, Awesome, Successful, and Thrilling Middle School Experiences.

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