I just remembered three specifics I haven’t shared with you during this back to school season. They are important. You’ll smile, and have fewer conflicts at home with your tween when you apply them to your lives.
To ask, or not to ask, for a schedule change
Often times students are disappointed when they are not in class with their friends. You’ll want to empathize with your child. As much as we school counselors (I was a school counselor for twenty years.) would like to satisfy the social desires of every student, it’s not feasible. Please don’t give your child hope for this change.
On the other hand, there are valid reasons to ask for a schedule change: being placed in the wrong band section, not getting the correct core class, or needing a PE class. In cases like these, you or your child should email the counselor ASAP. Starting school with a permanent schedule is ideal.
Alternatives to asking, “How was your day?”
To eliminate the dreaded “fine” and other one-word responses to this age old question, change the format of your questions. Avoid posing questions that begin with passive verbs such as have, did, and is. Invite dialogue by using open ended statements and questions that garner information and elaboration. Once you hear the answer, you can build on the conversation. You’ll see the differences in the examples below.
“Have you talked to your coach?” becomes “I’m wondering what information the coach shared with you.”
“Did your science teacher get back with you?” becomes “What kind of assignment did your science teacher give you?”
“Is your aide class okay?” becomes “What was the best/worst part of being an office aide today?”
Shifting the closed door perception
Most middle school students love being in their rooms behind shut doors. Kira is no different. Her mom, Stacy, knows she needs a daily plan to chat with her seventh grader. They agree to visit at 5:30 every afternoon. Stacey goes to Kira’s room, sits on her bed, and they chat. No screens allowed. It’s turned into a treasured time. The door, that once represented a barrier, is a welcome sight from both points of view.
You’re good to go!