The transition to middle school may be one of the toughest transitions during childhood, for both parents and kids. As you move through this period, don't set loose your middle school student quite yet. They are not really ready for the independence given to teens – they need you to help them with this transition.
In general, it's common during the middle school years for kids to drastically change their effort or performance in school, be cuddly one minute and aloof the next, prefer peers to parents (at times) and to think that parents are completely out of touch with reality.
It's perfectly normal for your child to be nervous about starting middle school. Not only are they facing a large group of peers whom they do not know, they also may be exposed to bullying or teasing and more peer pressure.
On top of starting at a larger school, the academic workload gets harder in middle school and grading gets tougher. There is more homework and more long-term projects to organize and usually less teacher-initiated contact with parents.
Below are some of the things that may make your child nervous. Try to discuss these things with your child and share your own experiences. You may even want to go to the school, map out the classrooms, practice using the combination lock and talk to a staff member about the rules. Try to alleviate some of the anxiety about each potential worry, such as:
- Getting lost or finding classes.
- Getting through the crowded halls.
- Opening the locker.
- Getting good grades.
- Keeping up with the workload – more responsibility.
- Being bullied or teased.
- Making new friends.
- Having more than one teacher.
- Carrying around all those books.
- Puberty (pimples, body changes, etc.).
- Changing before and after physical education (P.E.) class in front of other kids.
- Having girlfriends or boyfriends.
- Attractiveness and body-image issues.
- Having someone to sit with at lunch.
- Less connection with parents or family members.
- Less free time.
- Increased peer pressure.
Reviewed by: Amanda Quevedo
Last reviewed: October 2019