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Top 10 Mistakes Made by Parents of Middle School Students | 5-1

It’s no secret that parenting is hard! We try to get it right, but sometimes we don’t. Luckily, we aren’t alone! Check out this story to see what mistakes we tend to make and how to avoid them.
by Michelle Sutherlin Modified: April 17, 2014 at 3:37 pm •  Published: April 16, 2014
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photo - Photo via Thinkstock.com
Photo via Thinkstock.com

It’s no secret that parenting is hard! We try to get it right, but sometimes we don’t. Luckily, we aren’t alone!

Previously, we looked at the first part of the Top 10 Mistakes Made by Parents of Middle School Students. Here are numbers 1-5, rounding out the list.

5. Believing your child when they say they don’t have homework

While this might be true, most middle school students I know almost always have homework. There is always a celebration in my house when my son does not have homework, which has happened maybe three times this year. Many times my son will have homework in multiple subjects.

If you are struggling to find out if your son/daughter has homework, you have a few options: looking at your child’s grades online; contacting your child’s counselor and asking for help; communicating regularly with teachers; and if all else fails, contacting your child’s principal for help.

4. Not having “the talk” with them

Folks, if you haven’t given your child “the talk” by the time they walk through the doors of middle school, they will be getting it from their friends.

I believe it is important that parents have the chance to give “the talk” to their child before they hear who knows what at school. While it is uncomfortable to discuss sex with your child at any time, if he/she is in middle school, don’t wait. Anytime you mix pubescent 13- and 14-year-old teens with innocent 11-year-old children, the younger students get a whole new education.

As hard as you have worked to keep your child in a bubble, think of it this way; wouldn’t you rather your son or daughter hear it from you than from some smelly 14-year-old boy in the bathroom at school? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

3. Hiding things from your child or not giving them the full truth

When students hit middle school, they are finally ready for the truth. They know the difference between right and wrong and they are savvy enough to know when you are lying or leaving out key information. It’s time to include them in decisions that affect them.

When you don’t offer the full truth to your child, they can feel it. They think you are lying. What’s worse is that you have indicated to your child that lying, or not offering the full truth is OK. If you want the full truth from your teen, be prepared to offer it back to them.

2. Engaging in teenage drama

This is true, especially when it happens over social media. Some parents not only get involved in the drama, they name-call their children’s friends and enemies in public forums, such as Facebook and Instagram. This is wrong for many reasons: it sets a bad example for your child; it opens up parents to being name called back by kids and other adults; it can only get your child in more trouble at school; and it runs the risk of being illegal. I have seen parents file police reports based on what is said on social media.

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by Michelle Sutherlin
NewsOK Contributor
Michelle Sutherlin is a middle school counselor in Norman, OK, who works with students ages 11-15 daily. She is also a mom to two boys, Ryan (12) and Will (9). She and her husband have been married for 16 years. She loves middle school students so...
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