Listen up, parents! There is one thing you should understand about parenting teens and tweens.
I mentor three middle school girls. I know. It’s crazy. I have to admit that I didn’t plan to mentor middle schoolers. I planned to mentor little elementary school kids, which I did for six years.
Funny thing. Those little elementary school kids grew up and became these incredibly cool teenagers. So, now I find myself spending two days a week eating lunch in the middle school cafeteria.
Needless to say, it is an interesting experience.
middle school takes sensory overload to new heights
I have discovered there are privileges we enjoy as adults and take for granted.
middle schoolers have no sense of personal space
As adults, we have a right to our personal space, and we don’t get bumped when we are in public.
That’s right. We don’t get bumped.
Negotiating middle school is like your own personal pinball game. Kids bump into you constantly.
At lunch today, I had the pleasure of sitting next to a particularly active middle school girl. She sat with her chair turned sideways, and kept popping up and down with excitement. Every time she sat back down, she pushed her chair into to me.
She left her seat several times, and each time I pushed her chair a foot away from me. Each time she sat down, she pushed her chair back into me. And bumped me. Over, and over, and over.
Another adult privilege is volume control. We are generally able to choose when we want to be around noise and when we want to be where it is quiet.
middle school is loud. deafening loud.
Middle school kids are loud. Very loud. Not in the way that elementary school kids are loud, but in a “my voice is changing and I have no concept of how loud I am” loud.
If you can’t read lips, you have to yell to carry on a conversation.
parenting tip – let your kids hide in their room
The overstimulation of just one lunch left me wanting to come home to a dark room and curl into the fetal position.
I can’t imagine dealing with that commotion in the hallways, in the lines, and in the cafeteria, every day.
It is no wonder that when our teens come home, there are no hugs and just a “school was fine” before they go hide in their room.
They have had a long and overwhelming day as a human pinball.
So, here is my tip for parenting teens: Let your teenager stay in their room for a while to recover. When they come out, they will probably be nicer to be around.
Then you can sneak in a hug. 😉
a personal post script
As I was typing the last section, I realized I was late picking up my own teenager from middle school.
Then the 15-year-old boy came home and the first thing he did was give me a hug. 😉