November 21, 2017

Communicating effectively with your junior high aged child

Do you remember how awful junior high school was? Very few people can remember just how awkward it was to move into a phase of life when you were neither an adult nor a child. It was a time when you were trying to spend time with the cool kids and fit into a group. Many children report that junior high is terribly competitive and cruel. Kids who would have once played with you one th jungle gym are now mercilessly making fun of you for something you wear or say. It is also a time when children’s bodies are starting to change, and with them their emotions. Many young children report feeling terrible mood swings during this time. It is also the time when children start to discover the other sex in a new way. This also leads to some real confusion and much heart break. With so much separating you from your junior high aged child, you will find that it is quite difficult to communicate with them. You don’t understand their world anymore, and they hardly understand yours. Also, at this age your children are trying to form their own identities, which means that they are fighting against you to do so. You should not take this personally, but it might mean that your child won’t want to communicate with you much. They will identify you with their childhood and with control. So how will you possibly communicate effectively with your junior high aged child?

There are a couple of things that will help you to do this. One is to start communicating with your child like an adult. Children at this age will probably want to be treated like an adult so you should endeavor to do so. Don’t baby them when you speak to them; make sure that they know you love them, but don’t patronize them. Explain things clearly but allow them space to develop on their own. This will mean holding the to a higher standard than you have held them before, but it will also mean giving them a bit more freedom.

Realize that the stresses and strains of this age are unique. One thing to remember is that your child probably does not understand everything that is happening to them at this age. They are confused and on something of an emotional roller coaster ride. You can expect some outbursts and difficult situations. While you might not understand everything that is going on, you can understand that the situation is difficult and be understanding. In fact, one of the best ways to communicate with kids at this age is to listen to them. Allow them to come to you and tell you about their problems. Only when you have some idea of what they are going through will you be able to communicate with them. However, this requires that you provide them with a hospitable and loving environment in which to open up. If you are constantly angry with your junior high aged child they won’t share anything with you. Being understanding and kind will allow you to form a relationship with your child; they will come to you when they need to talk because they know that you are a compasionate and caring person. They won’t expect judgement, only caring and concern, and that is the type of relationship you want with your child. With some patience and understanding you will find that you can learn to communicate with your junior high aged child.

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