Counselor's Column

Sticks and Stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” Do you remember hearing this saying when you were a kid? Who were we kidding? Words can be very powerful. Words can have a profound effect on us, especially in middle school, when many students are going through a stage of self-awareness. It is crucial that middle school students are reminded that name calling, insulting someone or humiliating someone verbally can be considered bullying. Often, students will use the excuse that they were just joking around. Verbally degrading someone is no joking matter.

 


 

We encourage all of our students to keep the B-Code, which focuses on respecting one another. Unfortunately, teasing is something that occasionally happens. Many young teens will tease to gain acceptance in their peer group. Please help your student to understand that there are other ways to feel confident within their peer group besides teasing someone else.

 

Wanting to be popular is as natural as breathing. Having friends makes middle school students feel accepted. But many parents worry about their kids doing dangerous things to fit in with their peers.

 

How can you help your child deal with negative peer pressure? Try these tips:

Strengthen Family Ties - Like everyone else, middle graders need love and acceptance. How can you support your child? Spend time together. Point our their strengths. Listen to their opinions. Talk about their day. Simply showing you care encourages them to stay out of trouble.

 

Set Clear Rules - Let your child know where you stand on important issues. Clear guidelines and consequences help kids do the right thing. Example: “Drinking alcohol is against the law. If you drink, you will lose all privileges for at least one month.”

 

Practice Saying “No” - Talk with your child about difficult situations he will probably face. Ask how he will handle them. Together, come up with answers he can use to resist pressure. For smoking, he might say, “No way. I don’t like the taste. Besides, cigarettes stink!”

 

Share Your Experience - Let your child know about the pressures you face - and how you handle them.

Examples: A co-worker asks you to lie to your boss about a mistake. A friend wants you to call in sick to work and go shopping instead. Talk to your child about how you handle difficult situations. Discussing the positive steps you took to resolve your stressful situations will give your student ideas and strategies they can use later.

 

Middle school is a very difficult time for many students and parents. Helping your middle school student deal with negative peer pressure takes a lot of patience and understanding. Hopefully, the above tips will help you navigate through these very challenging years.

Thank you,

Ms. Eggleston and Ms. Carter