Adolescence marks the pathway between childhood and young adulthood. Our world has changed so much since you, who are now parents, grew up. What you may think of as the typical behavior of your own junior and senior high school years now frequently
takes place in middle school.

As you recall your own maturing, you probably think of your junior high school years as early adolescence and your teen or high school years as later adolescence. Your particular junior high may have started with sixth or seventh grade, you probably thought of sixth graders as ‘babies’ compared with seventh and eight graders, but ninth graders may have seemed pretty grown up. Back when you were in junior high school. Kids between 10 and 14 who weren’t quite full-fledged teenagers were often called tweens. That was then.

This is now! For the most part, middle schools have replaced junior high schools. They may begin as early as fourth grade and typically extend until eight grade. Today’s middle school youth have a head start on adolescence. Parents had better prepare early – tweens provide interesting challenges!

It’s obvious that middle school is a difficult time for kids and a challenge for you as parents and teachers. With the increase of problems and concerns for kids
between grades three and eight, you can hardly rest on your laurels. Although higher expectations of girls today have made a huge difference in how girls see themselves at the juncture of the middle grades, parents and educators need to keep encouraging girls to be independent and strong, and to discover their identities.

Boys, too, need support so that the increase of competition from girls doesn’t impede their mission for adolescent independence. You know that it isn’t healthy for girls to depend on popularity with boys to build their self-confidence, but neither is it healthy for boy’s self-confidence to be tied to popularity with girls.

All tweens are subjected to new pressures as they mature and seek their identities, and your guidance can lead them along the path to independent self-confidence.

Although the timing of adolescent development appears to have changed, and kids’
environments are more perplexing, the basic principles of parenting have remained the same. Allow your kids to experience the joys of childhood by not overpowering them, by not pushing them to adulthood too soon, and by not doing too much for them.

You can teach your tweens a work ethic by modeling the satisfaction that comes from
your accomplishments. You can help them balance hard work and achievement with fun
and laughter. By parenting in a united, moderate, and balanced way, and providing your kids with both love and limits, kids will internalize your wise values as they move into their teens and then adulthood.

With your guidance, they will be more likely to live fulfilling lives and to make
contributions to a safer and more secure future.

Author's Bio: 

Samantha Johnson is a woman who lives for Jesus and is committed to follow Him for the rest of her life.

Loves her husband and best friend Robert.

A loyal daughter and friend.

Works full-time as an Internet marketing and social media expert for an online company called

Loves travel, books, blogging, music, movies, photography, beauty, fashion, pop culture, and women's ministry.

Currently traveling through the United States doing missions, pastoral, and discipleship work with her husband.

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