Just the other day, an article popped up on my facebook feed that said “We Need A Middle School Moms Support Group, ASAFP Please.”
YES! We absolutely could use some middle school parenting group therapy. That would be great, sitting around a fire, sipping tea, crying about the latest drama or “I hate you, MOM!” screaming teenager. Let’s face it though, we’re all pretty busy working, or hiding in the bathroom, or driving kids around on the regular, so let’s just agree that parents need to talk to each other, period.
Middle school has been a trying time as a mom for me, in a surprising way. I’ve always thought I had this invincible kid who would conquer the world, who wouldn’t let drama or peer pressure get in her way. Enter puberty, and then other people’s kids going through puberty. And cell phones, and social media. And gossip, and…the list of things go on. We’ve dealt with varying forms of bullying, friends threatening suicide, and manipulating friends to name a few. Things I’m not sure I was prepared to handle. But I’m thankful I haven’t had to do it alone. Parents need to talk to each other.
I’ve never been the kind of mom who is in the PTO. I walk into the school and feel like a stranger in a sea of people who have known each other for years. So when some of the challenges my middle schooler started to face sprung up, I had to put aside my own insecurities when deciding how to handle them. Even though I believe that parents need to talk to each other, I had to wonder if my actions would cause more problems for my kids; would the typical sitcom parental tension unfold in real life? Or were there parents out there like me, who were barely keeping their heads above water navigating the complex world of raising good humans. I’m SO thankful that I discovered the latter.
On two instances, I had to contact parents of kids who were involved in unfriendly text exchanges with my kids. Situations where, if it were my kid behaving that way, I’d want to know, so I hoped the other parents felt the same. Both times, all communication was appreciated and well received. And because all of us parents were able to work together to help our kids through, there were no negative repercussions at school. Our kids learned that their actions don’t go unnoticed, learned how to resolve situations amicably, and how to move on civilly. It was so refreshing and such a relief to know that other parents are struggling, too, but are more than willing to work together to help our kids succeed on the social front.
Parents need to talk to each other, especially in the teen years where kids tend to shut down, communication happens electronically, and we as parents are out of comfort zones on how to be a parent.
We want to know when something goes sideways, when our kids are hurting or causing harm, or doing something exceptionally well. We want to know when they need help and when they might need a little guidance. And we want to know that we’re not alone in our struggles. So, don’t hesitate to reach out to the parent of your kid’s bestie, to the parents of the kid who is making your kids life hell, or to the adults in the life of the kid your kid is worried about. It may not always be received favorably, but it’s worth the risk. And remember, you are NOT alone in this parenting journey. We are all in it together!