Transitioning to Middle School: From Big Fish to Small

back to school

back to school

Credit: publicdomainpictures.net

Dear Mr. Dad: My son is starting middle school next week. His previous school was K-5 so this is a new one for him. He’s nervous and, honestly so am I. He’s a smart kid but has always had trouble finishing assignments and turning work in on time. I’m worried that if he does the same in middle school, he’ll be setting himself up for even more trouble in high school and beyond. What can I do to help him (and myself) get ready for this big transition?

The transition from elementary- to middle school is kind of like the transition from half-day preschool or kindergarten to full-day first grade: it’s going to be a huge change in your son’s—and your—life. Until now, he’s probably spent each school year in a single classroom with a single teacher and the schedule was largely the same every day. But now, that comfort and security is being replaced by different teachers in different classrooms—each with different rules, binders, homework policies, and learning environments. Middle school is also a lot more tech-heavy than elementary school. My daughter’s school, for example, has the kids use Google docs, which are accessible from anywhere, for all assignments. The old “the-dog-ate-my-homework” or “Oops-I-left-it­-at-home” excuses won’t fly anymore.
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Helping Kids Through Tween Transitions


Michelle Icard, author of Middle School Makeover.
Topic
: Improving the way you and your child experience the middle school years.
Issues: Helping your kid through real middle school problems, including social media, questions about sex, mean girls (and boys), and fitting in, dealing with bullies, fashion, peer pressure, dating, independence, and more.

Manual to Manhood + Middle School Makeover


Jonathan Catherman, author of The Manual to Manhood.
Topic:
How to cook the perfect steak, change a tire, impress a girl, and 97 other survival skills for young men.
Issues: As a man in the making, you’ll need to know how to do stuff. You also need a strong moral character to back up your new abilities. Here are step-by-step instructions for just about everything you need to know.



Michelle Icard, author of Middle School Makeover.
Topic
: Improving the way you and your child experience the middle school years.
Issues: Helping your kid through real middle school problems, including social media, questions about sex, mean girls (and boys), and fitting in, dealing with bullies, fashion, peer pressure, dating, independence, and more.

It’s all fun and games–until someone dies

I’ve been reading about the new middle-school craze–the Choking Game, which involves strangling (one’s self or someone else). The goal is to produce the light-headed feeling that happens when oxygen to the brain is cut off and the “rush” that happens when the choke is released and the oxygen flows back in. As one who, over the course of many years in the martial arts, did plenty of choking (and was choked at least as often), I can say that there is a tiny bit of truth there–you do get a little light-headed before passing out, and you do get a rush when the blood comes back. But I was reminded of two movies that dealt with exactly the same search for a choke-induced high.

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