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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My 11 yr old dd will be skipping 6th grade and starting middle school in the 7th grade this Sept. Although she is very excited and was 100% in favor of the grade advancement, she is growing nervous as the semester approaches.

Advice for easing this transition would be welcomed.

Dd has always been pretty well-adjusted, had a nice group of friends and her own interests (mostly reading). She didn't care much about being popular or in style, but seemed pretty happy and comfortable with herself.

After going to summer camp and summer band lessons, she's become aware of how socially-conscious and style-conscious the other middle school girls are and so she's nervous about fitting in. I don't think she's worried about being super popular or competing with the fashionistas, she just doesn't want to be ostracized or marginalized.

I'm trying to be empathetic and understanding and encouraging. I'm allowing her to to choose a few of the trendy things she covets, yet encouraging her to try to develop her own style and to make wise choices.

We're sending her to as many middle school orientation sessions as we can, so that she'll feel as comfortable as possible in the new surroundings.

I'm not sure what other things I can do for her. I don't know if a book would help. I don't know any middle school girls to introduce her to. I thought maybe I'd find her a teen website online where she could chat and get a feel for middle school life, but the ones I found were downright scary. She's way too young for the discussions I encountered. Maybe there's a site geared for younger middle schoolers or something.

Advice anyone? What would your middle schoolers say or think about being in a similar situation? Any moms with experience have advice or suggestions? Good ideas? Pitfalls to avoid? Anything?

TIA
 

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I started grade 7 at 11 years old & we had just moved across the country. It is a little scary - but it's a fear of the unknown. Once school starts a lot of her anxiety will instantly disappear. If anything I would focus on things other than school at this point to help distract her until school starts. I think it is difficult to really do a lot of preparing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by harrietsmama View Post
Maybe the school can partner her up with a helper friend to adjust? Only if SHE wants it and thinks it will help
Yeah, I'm thinking about contacting the school's GT coordinator b/c she and I talked at length last spring when we were making this decision. She might have some good ideas or even know of a student or two that she could introduce to her to help smooth the transition a bit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
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Originally Posted by lifeguard View Post
. .......... Once school starts a lot of her anxiety will instantly disappear. If anything I would focus on things other than school at this point to help distract her until school starts. I think it is difficult to really do a lot of preparing.

You know, I think you are probably right about this. Dd is the kind of kid who wants to be really prepared and know what's going on, so it might be that her focusing on this is making the anxiety worse. I like the idea of doing some stuff like the orientations and maybe contacting the school GT counselor, but perhaps in between this things, the focus should be shifted away to other things more. I'll try to get the kids to the pool or to friends or whatever as much as I can so she doesn't have too much time for worrying.
 

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I realize I'm old as dirt, but when I started 7th grade I was in a middle school that was 6th / 7th grade. I was one of the kids taking band with mostly 6th graders because we didn't have it at my 6th grade school. There was not, at that time, a big difference between the 6th kids and 7th kids. I remember kids who were talking about drinking and sex and parties and stuff, and I don't recall the 6th graders being particularly left out of those parties. I was not ready for any of it but it didn't really matter.

What I do remember about 7th grade is that there was this one girl who was either my best friend or hated me and that seemed to alternate and I didn't understand it.

So I'd mainly advise her to not take the kids too seriously, as they will settle down in a few years.

I was not allowed to skip 7th because the high school principal was afraid of having a 12 year old in his 8-12th school, but had to compress parts 10th and 11th and definitely by 10th grade there is really not much difference between one grade's kids and the grade above. I would really have preferred to skip earlier because in high school I had to actually earn the credit to graduate a year early, whereas when you skip before 9th you can often just SKIP the year.
 

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Wow, are you me?

My DD is skipping 6th grade and going directly into 7th this year. Our added obstacle is that DD hasn't been in a school since the 3rd grade, we homeschooled.

We are not dealing with the insecurities on this end, DD is usually pretty oblivious to such things. She's very strong in personality and honestly wants to dye her hair blue before school starts. I couldn't imagine having that kind of nerve. LOL

I'm sure your daughter's anxieties will calm once she gets into school, but that doesn't help how she feels now. Honestly, I don't think there is anything you can do to remove her fear. It's fear of the unknown. It is very kind of you to pick up a few things that she feels would be important for her to fit in, that has to take away at least one worry for her. My DD is going to a school with uniforms, so this isn't a concern for DD. And obviously with her choice in hair color, I don't think fitting in is on her mind either.

Does she have any other fears or ideas on how you can help alleviate them?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks Pancakes. Glad to know I'm not the only one. It's funny, my dd was so totally excited about middle school, including (and especially) her grade advancement, but as the start date approaches, now the anxieties have set in.

She was with some older cousins and their friends recently and she was really mortified when she overheard the girls looking through their school yearbook and and criticizing various other kids. I think she's really afraid of being the victim of "mean girls". I can't imagine that she would be, but the fear is there.

Dd is a child whom I have described since infancy as "a gentle soul". She's very sensitive, a little artistic, very intelligent, a voracious reader and keenly observant of all the minute details of her surroundings. She picks up on little nuances in people's voices and expressions and everything around her. Unlike your dd, she'd never want to dye her hair or do something that would make her stand out in a crowd. She dislikes attention and prefers quiet. She isn't shy and she has good social skills, but she is relatively introverted. Her wardrobe was previously all solid colored t-shirts, comfortable jeans, sweaters and sweatshirts. I used to try to get her to wear some clothes with a little more "personality" but it wasn't her thing.

I do definitely think the fear of the unknown is the worst part. She keeps asking me questions I don't know how to answer. I am sure that once the school year gets going, she'll become comfortable fairly quickly.

As far as other fears, I think she's quite worried about being perceived as "too young" or childish. I don't think it's going to be much of an issue since the age range and the developmental range of the kids in 7th grade will be pretty broad. I've assured her that she won't be the smallest, skinniest or least-developed one there. I'm positive of that.

I'm not sure what other fears are bothering her the most. I know she's a little nervous about getting to school and class on time and about being organized enough to keep track of her books and homework and such. These things would be issues no matter what grade she was going into. And there's band. She'll be a year behind in band. We did get her private clarinet lessons this summer though, so I think she'll catch up fine.

Once Sept is over, I think I'm going to heave a big sigh of relief...
 

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Quote:
I know she's a little nervous about getting to school and class on time and about being organized enough to keep track of her books and homework and such.
Oh dear, she needs to understand that those fears are common to all students regardless of grade. I remember being terrified every year from 7th to 12th that I wouldn't be able to locate a class, or if I'd be late if I had to use the restroom AND get books between classes. All kids feel that way and I'm sure she knows that, but the nervousness is still present.

Your DD seems quite sensitive and aware. The experience with her cousins is, as we all know, quite typical of middle and high school students. Your DD will most likely be picked on by a mean girl at some point, what's important is that she understand why the mean girls behave the way they do. It has nothing to do with your DD, and everything to do with the other child. This is difficult to accept, I know I couldn't when I was her age.

I spoke to my DD about this thread. I asked if she had any concerns herself. Her response "We're all scared, mom, it's something new. Pass the ketchup."

I don't know if she's hiding her fear or just really is that relaxed about it. *shrug* Who knows.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I'm 41 and I *still* have occasional nightmares about being lost at middle school and wandering around the halls unable to find my class! lol!

I love your dd's response. She sounds like a pretty laid-back kid. I used to think my dd was more laid-back than she seems lately. I swear it's the hormones kicking in b/c one day she's all funny and happy and the next she's emotional and moody.

I actually wish the kids did wear uniforms here. It would simplify my life. I am pretty sure the kids would hate it though.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by UUMom View Post
.

Edited because what I think is not helpful.
I wonder if it was similar to what I would have said?


No seriously though. My son was in middle school last year before we removed him to return to homeschooling. It's a tough time during 6th-8th grade, so many changes not only academically but socially, mentally and in every other area. It's a lot for a kid in that age range.

Have you talked to the guidance counselor at her school? Perhaps they would have some good ideas on what you can do. If there are afterschool activities your child could get involved in - that might be a good way for her to meet other kids outside the classroom.

Quote:
I'm 41 and I *still* have occasional nightmares about being lost at middle school and wandering around the halls unable to find my class! lol!
me too!
 

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Hi,
My daughter skipped 6th grade a couple of years ago. We had just moved to the Virgin Islands and the public school system is very bad here. We wanted our daughters in the Montessori Scholl but because she would have ended up in the last year of the Montessori program they wouldn't put her in, so they were willing to put her into 7th grade. The were worried about her socially and I was worried about her academically. She is a smart kid but she does not always apply herself and her grades reflect that. I knew socially she would be just fine. As it turned out she did great socially and academically. I am sure she was nervous but she did not talk about it much. She is now entering the 11th grade and because the high school program at her school is so small, she will either be the only 11th grader or maybe 1 of 2, she will be taking a college course at the University as her 11th grade science and will be able to apply the credits when she goes to college.

Good Luck to you and her. Hopefully her transition will be smooth.
Lisa
 
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