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<p>I notice alot of the people on both the homeschool and school boards have very young children who are also concerned about socialization.  I'd like to talk with other moms (and Dads!) who have kids in middle and high school.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Just a quick background:  My kids have been to public school and have homeschooled.  I have one at home now and one in ps.  My oldest integrated back into school last year in 7th grade.  After a year and a half of public school experience for her, I have to say, I'm less than impressed with MOST of the kids who go to her school.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>And, I'm wondering how normal or mainstream this type of school atmosphere is, across the board.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>For instance, there is a girl in my dd's grade (8th) who is pregnant. I'm haven't heard what the school plans to do about her.  There are kids as young as 10-11 (6th grade) who are exposed to this stuff.   My dd's school also has drug dogs that sniff the lockers everyday.  This school is a top rated, high scoring, WELL funded, small school in a semi rural area. </p>
<p> </p>
<p>Other thing is the girls.  My dd doesn't like most of them lol...because they are 'mean' and foul mouthed.  There was a recent episode that was something like out of the movie Mean Girls with their slam book.  My dd was shocked that girls could be so mean and cruel and write such horrible things and post them on the walls. </p>
<p> </p>
<p>My dd was recently suspended from the bus because the bus driver flagged her as saying "F*** you" to her, which she didn't, it was a neighborhood girl who said it, their heads were all turned as they left the bus when this was said, yet my dd was the one punished unfairly.  After it was all done, there was no apology or admittance from either the 'friend' or the mom (who I approached about it) OR the BUS driver to either me or my dd.  My dd has a witness that it was the mutual 'friend' and not my dd.  Pretty upsetting to say the least. </p>
<p> </p>
<p>Anyone want to commiserate about these issues and how to nagivate them?   I keep thinking how much of a distraction the drama and serious issues must be to other kids who are actually there to learn. </p>
 

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<p>I have a 9th grader so we've been through middle school. I'll start by saying, it's not so much "middle school" that's the problem. It's "middle school <strong>age</strong>" that is the problem. Girls are the worst... even the sweetest of girls have their ugly moments. Hormones are raging. Many of the kids no longer have a parent at home afterschool AND no longer are in childcare. This means less supervision outside school for lots of these kids and that new freedom goes to their head. They are at their most insecure and they want more than anything to either fit or they rebel against it causing all sorts of issues. They are between teenager and child. Most err on trying to be more "adult" but their perception is all off. They don't see adult as needing to be responsible and work with others as a team. They see being adult as foul language, sex, drinking, ect. Unfortunately, homeschoolers aren't impervious to this. DD only had a couple issues with cruel peers and they were with middle school-aged homeschoolers in her activities. It's just a really ugly age. Yes, when they are home with you or at family gatherings, they can be as sweet as candy. Perhaps this is why so many parents don't believe when their child is accused of something (believe my, I know how you feel. I had to approach one mom and I had pages of actual PROOF and the mom just couldn't phathom her child could be someone else when out of her sight.) Anyway, put those kids in a room with too many others their age and you start having trouble. Even my Girl Scouts went crazy those years. They've been together from 1st grade and are the nicest, most commpassionate kids you can imagine. They LOVED each other but every outing resulted in someone feeling rejected, someone being heartless, some uncharacteristic comment or response that I NEVER would have guessed possible from a certain child.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Thankfully, that really seems to turn around in high school from what we've seen. My Girl Scouts are back to their normal, reasonable selves. The kids in high school seem pretty normal and the feel on campus is much better than middle. Sure, there will always be a few nasty birds but they don't have as much power in high school as they did in middle.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>I will say though, my DD came out unscathed and she's even young for grade. She had very little trouble with other kids at school though she really didn't develop more than "lunch companions" during her time there. She connected strongly with her teachers. The school she was in had an arts focus and so most of the school was in SOMETHING like dance, orchestra, band, show choir, art, ect. I think this really makes a difference. There were no pregnancies, no serious relationships, most didn't go to dances with "dates." The school had a zero tolerance policy and stuck to it fiercely. They actually followed through on dress code violations. I caught some foul language when on campus but really, that is the worst story I can report from those 3 years and I work for the district and get all the dirt lol.</p>
<p> </p>
 

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<p>I have a middle schooler, and it really is a different world.  I feel incredibly fortunate because my dd has a smallish (4-5) group of girlfriends that she is pretty tight with, and a larger circle she is on friendly terms with.  She has several friends who are boys as well.  This ability to navigate a social setting and have good peer relations seems to be the crux of middle school.  I don't remember it being as intense as I feel it is for kids these days, but that's just me.  I wouldn't have described my kid as especially socially adept before now, but I think she actually is doing fine.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>We've escaped the meanness and clique=y stuff so far, but I know that other kids have experienced it.  My kiddo is pretty busy afterschool, and involved with a lot-sports, volunteering, school clubs-so she isn't hanging around with tons of downtime, unsupervised.  I find that the kids she hangs with are doing similar types of activities.  The kids who are having issues socially are interacting all the time via text, facebook, etc, which seems to just take on a life of it's own.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Yes, there are things we wish our dd wasn't exposed to, but she's coped fairly well so far.</p>
 

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<p>It all seems quite normal.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>They are all things that open  up conversations with your child too.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Even if the girl in the grade 8 class wasn't pregnant, there are definitly kids that age having sex & the kids at the school would know it.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>The drug dogs, well they don't have those here though the school will do locker checks.  By Grade 8 most kids have tried drugs.  It's sad but it is the reality too.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Unless you hvae a really small school(less than 100 kids) I doubt you can honestly say you don't like MOST of the kids.  So far you don't like the ones you've heard about.  Is there really nothing good in the school or are you choosing to look at the negative?</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Girls can be mean.  Most grow out of it, alot are doing it to try & impress their friends.  Sadly some don't grow out of it & are mean adult females.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>the bus thing, take it as an opportunity to talk to your dd about what a friend really is.  The girl who actually said it obviously isn't really her friend.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>As a pp said, this is the age. It has nothing to do with the school.</p>
 

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<p>I've seen this book recommended before <a class="l" href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=motheringhud-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FQueen-Bees-Wannabes-Boyfriends-Adolescence%2Fdp%2F1400047927" rel="norewrite" target="_blank"><em>Queen Bees</em> and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive <b>...</b></a></p>
 

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<p>I would also add that your dd doesn't have to like most of the kids in school (nor do you), as long as there might be at least one or two she connects with.  I have read somewhere that at least one solid friendship at this age really does have some insulating effects regarding bullying and low self esteem.  Sorry-I don't recall the source of that. At this age they really are out there making their own choices and using their judgement, which I think can be fascinating, frightening, and rewarding to watch as a parent!</p>
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Sneezykids</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1285504/socialization-in-the-higher-grades#post_16116594"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>I notice alot of the people on both the homeschool and school boards have very young children who are also concerned about socialization.  I'd like to talk with other moms (and Dads!) who have kids in middle and high school.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Just a quick background:  My kids have been to public school and have homeschooled.  I have one at home now and one in ps.  My oldest integrated back into school last year in 7th grade.  After a year and a half of public school experience for her, I have to say, I'm less than impressed with MOST of the kids who go to her school.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>And, I'm wondering how normal or mainstream this type of school atmosphere is, across the board.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>For instance, there is a girl in my dd's grade (8th) who is pregnant. I'm haven't heard what the school plans to do about her.  There are kids as young as 10-11 (6th grade) who are exposed to this stuff.   My dd's school also has drug dogs that sniff the lockers everyday.  This school is a top rated, high scoring, WELL funded, small school in a semi rural area. </p>
<p> </p>
<p>Other thing is the girls.  My dd doesn't like most of them lol...because they are 'mean' and foul mouthed.  There was a recent episode that was something like out of the movie Mean Girls with their slam book.  My dd was shocked that girls could be so mean and cruel and write such horrible things and post them on the walls. </p>
<p> </p>
<p>My dd was recently suspended from the bus because the bus driver flagged her as saying "F*** you" to her, which she didn't, it was a neighborhood girl who said it, their heads were all turned as they left the bus when this was said, yet my dd was the one punished unfairly.  After it was all done, there was no apology or admittance from either the 'friend' or the mom (who I approached about it) OR the BUS driver to either me or my dd.  My dd has a witness that it was the mutual 'friend' and not my dd.  Pretty upsetting to say the least. </p>
<p> </p>
<p>Anyone want to commiserate about these issues and how to nagivate them?   I keep thinking how much of a distraction the drama and serious issues must be to other kids who are actually there to learn. </p>
</div>
</div>
<br><br><p>This sounds pretty typical. This sounds like when I was in middle school in the early 80s. I went to school in a moderately sized town in Hawaii, and we had security guards at our schools. We didn't have lockers....open-air schools so too much vandalism after hours....so no drug-sniffing dogs, but I could totally see them having the dogs if we'd had lockers. There was quite a bit of pot-smoking and paint-sniffing among my schoolmates.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>When my oldest DS was in public school, it happened to him that he got into trouble for something someone else did. He was in first grade and supposedly wrote a long stream of filthy language on the wall. Not that he was an angel, but that's just not something he would do.....half the words weren't even words he knew. Anyway, they took his recess for three days, and I went to have a meeting with the school. The kid who actually wrote the offensive graffiti is the one who told the teachers my DS did it. And they didn't even question further; they just took this other kid's word for it. So I asked them what they were teaching children about fairness and justice in that school, and also asked why young children were being left unsupervised on the playground long enough to write an entire paragraph on a wall. My kid got his recess back, FWIW.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>As for the pregnant girl in your child's school...I'm not really sure what you're implying. What, exactly, is it that you want the school to "do about her." Send her away? This isn't 1950. I would hope that they would support her choice to remain in school until, and after, she delivers.</p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Sneezykids</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1285504/socialization-in-the-higher-grades#post_16116594"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>For instance, there is a girl in my dd's grade (8th) who is pregnant. I'm haven't heard what the school plans to do about her.  </p>
</div>
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<p>I hope they're planning to support her as much as possible and that that's what you meant by "do about her."</p>
 
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<p><br>
 </p>
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Sneezykids</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1285504/socialization-in-the-higher-grades#post_16116594"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>I notice alot of the people on both the homeschool and school boards have very young children who are also concerned about socialization.  I'd like to talk with other moms (and Dads!) who have kids in middle and high school.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Just a quick background:  My kids have been to public school and have homeschooled.  I have one at home now and one in ps.  My oldest integrated back into school last year in 7th grade.  After a year and a half of public school experience for her, I have to say, I'm less than impressed with MOST of the kids who go to her school.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>And, I'm wondering how normal or mainstream this type of school atmosphere is, across the board.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>For instance, there is a girl in my dd's grade (8th) who is pregnant. I'm haven't heard what the school plans to do about her.  There are kids as young as 10-11 (6th grade) who are exposed to this stuff.   My dd's school also has drug dogs that sniff the lockers everyday.  This school is a top rated, high scoring, WELL funded, small school in a semi rural area. </p>
<p> </p>
<p>Other thing is the girls.  My dd doesn't like most of them lol...because they are 'mean' and foul mouthed.  There was a recent episode that was something like out of the movie Mean Girls with their slam book.  My dd was shocked that girls could be so mean and cruel and write such horrible things and post them on the walls. </p>
<p> </p>
<p>My dd was recently suspended from the bus because the bus driver flagged her as saying "F*** you" to her, which she didn't, it was a neighborhood girl who said it, their heads were all turned as they left the bus when this was said, yet my dd was the one punished unfairly.  After it was all done, there was no apology or admittance from either the 'friend' or the mom (who I approached about it) OR the BUS driver to either me or my dd.  My dd has a witness that it was the mutual 'friend' and not my dd.  Pretty upsetting to say the least. </p>
<p> </p>
<p>Anyone want to commiserate about these issues and how to nagivate them?   I keep thinking how much of a distraction the drama and serious issues must be to other kids who are actually there to learn. </p>
</div>
</div>
<p> </p>
<p>From your post, you've identified: </p>
<p>- teen pregnancy</p>
<p>- drugs and drug prevention</p>
<p>- social bullying, cliques </p>
<p>- swearing</p>
<p>- unfair punishment</p>
<p> </p>
<p>If teen sex and drug use are happening in the school, they are happening in your community too. I don't think your children can avoid these issues simply by avoiding school. It sounds like the school is taking the issue of drug use seriously, hence the sniffer dogs. Hopefully, the rest of the drug awareness program has been thoughtfully created and implemented. Similarly, I find social bullying tends to reflect attitudes and behaviour in the wider community. Is it possible that the school children in your town simply mimic the exclusivity and snobbery of the adults around them?</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Swearing is pretty difficult to avoid anyplace these days. It's permeated the culture in song lyrics, television and film, even advertising. It rings in the ears more harshly when heard in the schoolyard rather than the street. The school can have a zero tolerance policy, but it's difficult to enforce.  </p>
<p> </p>
<p style="margin-top:0px;margin-right:0px;margin-bottom:0px;margin-left:0px;padding-top:0px;padding-right:0px;padding-bottom:0px;padding-left:0px;">The unfair punishment on the school bus is understandably upsetting. It's an issue that I would pursue with the transportation company and the school. If there were conflicting witness statements and the culprit couldn't be identified, then a suspension should not have been handed down. </p>
<div> </div>
<p> </p>
<p>FWIW, my dc have attended schools in large cities and there has never been sniffer dogs or a police presence in their schools. I'm not aware of any middle school pregnancies (or high school, for that matter, other than a girl at my own high school 35 years ago). My dc have the self-confidence to laugh at any social bullying episodes. I know they have occasionally had hurt feelings when it happens, but they understand that it isn't about them, really, it's about the bullies' needs to control and dominate.  </p>
<p> </p>
<p> </p>
<p> </p>
<div class="quote-container" style="margin-top:5px;margin-right:20px;margin-bottom:5px;margin-left:20px;padding-top:0px;padding-right:0px;padding-bottom:0px;padding-left:0px;"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block" style="margin-top:0px;margin-right:0px;margin-bottom:0px;margin-left:0px;padding-top:3px;padding-right:3px;padding-bottom:3px;padding-left:3px;border-top-width:1px;border-right-width:1px;border-bottom-width:1px;border-left-width:1px;border-top-style:solid;border-right-style:solid;border-bottom-style:solid;border-left-style:solid;border-top-color:rgb(217,218,216);border-right-color:rgb(217,218,216);border-bottom-color:rgb(217,218,216);border-left-color:rgb(217,218,216);background-color:rgb(234,235,233);">Originally Posted by <strong style="font-style:normal;font-weight:bold;">Sneezykids</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1285504/socialization-in-the-higher-grades#post_16116594" style="color:rgb(96,73,154);"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border-top-width:0px;border-right-width:0px;border-bottom-width:0px;border-left-width:0px;border-top-style:solid;border-right-style:solid;border-bottom-style:solid;border-left-style:solid;"></a><br><br><p style="margin-top:0px;margin-right:0px;margin-bottom:0px;margin-left:0px;padding-top:0px;padding-right:0px;padding-bottom:0px;padding-left:0px;"> </p>
<p style="margin-top:0px;margin-right:0px;margin-bottom:0px;margin-left:0px;padding-top:0px;padding-right:0px;padding-bottom:0px;padding-left:0px;">Anyone want to commiserate about these issues and how to nagivate them?   I keep thinking how much of a distraction the drama and serious issues must be to other kids who are actually there to learn. </p>
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<p> </p>
<p> </p>
<p>How to navigate? </p>
<p> </p>
<p>-I'd start with joining the parent council. If I was unhappy with the school's programs for sex education, drug awareness and anti-bullying, I'd work with the administration on developing better programs.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>-I'd certainly continue to have open and honest discussions with my dc. That also means keeping an open mind to my dc's opinions on these issues, since they may differ from my own. For example, I drink alcohol (maybe a glass of wine once a month or so) and I don't mind if my dc have a glass of wine with dinner if we've opened a bottle, but my 17 y.o. DS is straight-edge and doesn't really approve. </p>
<p><br>
- I'd manage individual situations as they occurred. Eg. if my child was affected by an incident of social bullying, I'd encourage them to deal with it. I might discuss it with the teacher and/or the principal and get them involved in sorting out a solution. </p>
<p> </p>
<p>- I'd make sure my dc are involved in activities outside of school, so that they have a wide community of friends to draw on and exposure to experiences that will help build their self-confidence. A child who is bullied at school or struggling with academics can find friendship and support in non-school groups (Scouts, community orchestra or choir, gymnastics church, Spanish lessons, soccer, drama group, art school, swim club etc. etc.)  and discover that they can shine in other ways in those activities.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>- If I had a particular skill, I might offer it up and get involved with the students myself. For a few years, I organized the Debate Club at my DS's middle school. I tried to coach the students to use persuasive language and debate skills when they had a confrontation, rather than swearing and dissing each other.  </p>
<p> </p>
<p> </p>
<div>Those are just a few ideas you might consider. </div>
<p> </p>
<p> </p>
<p> </p>
<p>A final thought on this: </p>
<p> </p>
<p> </p>
<p style="margin-top:0px;margin-right:0px;margin-bottom:0px;margin-left:0px;padding-top:0px;padding-right:0px;padding-bottom:0px;padding-left:0px;"> </p>
<div class="quote-container" style="margin-top:5px;margin-right:20px;margin-bottom:5px;margin-left:20px;padding-top:0px;padding-right:0px;padding-bottom:0px;padding-left:0px;"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block" style="margin-top:0px;margin-right:0px;margin-bottom:0px;margin-left:0px;padding-top:3px;padding-right:3px;padding-bottom:3px;padding-left:3px;border-top-width:1px;border-right-width:1px;border-bottom-width:1px;border-left-width:1px;border-top-style:solid;border-right-style:solid;border-bottom-style:solid;border-left-style:solid;border-top-color:rgb(217,218,216);border-right-color:rgb(217,218,216);border-bottom-color:rgb(217,218,216);border-left-color:rgb(217,218,216);background-color:rgb(234,235,233);">Originally Posted by <strong style="font-style:normal;font-weight:bold;">Sneezykids</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1285504/socialization-in-the-higher-grades#post_16116594" style="color:rgb(96,73,154);"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border-top-width:0px;border-right-width:0px;border-bottom-width:0px;border-left-width:0px;border-top-style:solid;border-right-style:solid;border-bottom-style:solid;border-left-style:solid;"></a><br><br><p style="margin-top:0px;margin-right:0px;margin-bottom:0px;margin-left:0px;padding-top:0px;padding-right:0px;padding-bottom:0px;padding-left:0px;"> </p>
<p style="margin-top:0px;margin-right:0px;margin-bottom:0px;margin-left:0px;padding-top:0px;padding-right:0px;padding-bottom:0px;padding-left:0px;">For instance, there is a girl in my dd's grade (8th) who is pregnant. I'm haven't heard what the school plans to do about her.  There are kids as young as 10-11 (6th grade) who are exposed to this stuff.   </p>
<div style="margin-top:0px;margin-right:0px;margin-bottom:0px;margin-left:0px;padding-top:0px;padding-right:0px;padding-bottom:0px;padding-left:0px;"> </div>
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<p style="margin-top:0px;margin-right:0px;margin-bottom:0px;margin-left:0px;padding-top:0px;padding-right:0px;padding-bottom:0px;padding-left:0px;"> </p>
<p style="margin-top:0px;margin-right:0px;margin-bottom:0px;margin-left:0px;padding-top:0px;padding-right:0px;padding-bottom:0px;padding-left:0px;">What do you think the school should plan to do with her? Other than offer support and make whatever academic accommodations are possible to make life a little easier for her during what must be an incredibly stressful time of her life? </p>
<p style="margin-top:0px;margin-right:0px;margin-bottom:0px;margin-left:0px;padding-top:0px;padding-right:0px;padding-bottom:0px;padding-left:0px;"> </p>
<p style="margin-top:0px;margin-right:0px;margin-bottom:0px;margin-left:0px;padding-top:0px;padding-right:0px;padding-bottom:0px;padding-left:0px;">I attended school during both my pregnancies. Granted, I was in my 30's, it was a post-graduate professional university program, I had a husband and the support of friends and family.  The faculty made very few concessions, other than advising me to take "paper" courses (evaluations based on essays rather than final exams). It refused to allow me to attend part-time and wouldn't consider other possible arrangements. Since I planned both pregnancies and chose to put myself in that situation, I didn't make a fuss about it, but it wasn't easy. I had to sit out an entire year and delay getting my degree at one point. A little administrative support would have meant a lot. I hope this middle school is far more sympathetic and supportive to this teenager. </p>
<div> </div>
<p> </p>
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
<p>I didn't say my dd was being bullied or had low self esteem.  I said she was shocked at how mean the girls were in her school.  The bus incident was upsetting and she is not really friends with the other girl.  In fact, the other girl invited her to her birthday party tonight and my dd is not going.  But, interesting, after the bus scene, a bunch of girls wrote horrible things about the girl and taped them up on the walls and passed them out to kids in the hallway.  My dd was the one who took the higher road and helped this 'friend' by taking her to the counselors office.  I asked my dd why she did that and she said, because I was being the bigger person Mom. </p>
<p> </p>
<p>My concern was how common these issues are in today's middle schools.  I agree that it's a tough age.  I'll keep that in mind for sure. </p>
<p> </p>
<p>My dd is very involved...choir, student council, ski/snowboard club, many 4-H clubs (outside of school) she also has some budding independent hobbies like photography (which she competes every year at 4H fair) and thankfully she has a small group of tight friends :)  that she has had since 1st grade, even though she was homeschooled for four years. </p>
<p> </p>
<p>As for the bus scene..YES..the girl acts and talks just like her Mom and is very indulged materially by her parents. </p>
<p> </p>
<p>Re:  the pregnant girl...I don't know!!  She isn't 30, she's 13!!  I have talked with my dd about it. </p>
 

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<p>OK, my child is only in 4th grade, but we have friends with kids in middle school, with a pretty big range of socioeconomic status.</p>
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<p>Foul language is pretty common, but the kids do know enough to tame it down in front of adults.</p>
<p>Meanness is variable, it really depends on the crowd you travel in, but there are plenty of groups that don't do that. I would second the recommendation for "Queen Bees & Wannabes" as I think it will give your daughter understanding of the social relationships. But if the meanness had reached the level you described, I know the schools would have cracked down very hard.</p>
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<p>Everything else would really surprise me. No drug sniffing dogs, teen pregnancy is rare at the middle school level. IME, sometimes WELL funded schools (i.e. rich families) sometimes have a lot kids with entitlement issues.</p>
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<p>My children were in a private christian school and I too was shocked/ saddened by how mean, foul mouthed, and just generally nasty the kids seemed to be.  The school went to 8th grade and a recent "graduate" came back to visit the school with her infant twins (born when she was in 9th grade). </p>
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<p>I felt confident my girls would emerge unscathed unless they were sexually assaulted or bullied.  When one of them started to be bullied and the other was reduced to tears by the nastiness of her classmates (even though it wasn't directed at her) I gave up and did not re-enroll them.</p>
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<p>I don't think homeschooling will necessarily protect them from the ills of the world, but it will give them a break from it during potentially very fragile years.</p>
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<p>That being said, though, were it not for the bullying and the phobia my other daughter was developing of attending school (she is very gentle, moral, sensitive) I would have kept them in despite the crudeness of the other students.  You just have to set a good example at home, practice what you preach as best you can, and love your children genuinely.</p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Sneezykids</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1285504/socialization-in-the-higher-grades#post_16123921"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p> </p>
<p>Re:  the pregnant girl...I don't know!!  She isn't 30, she's 13!!  I have talked with my dd about it. </p>
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Ultimately I would say that it's none of your business unless you're going to be involved actively in the process of helping her. There are schools that provide great support - and even childcare - to girls who become pregnant, but I think they're rare. I do think, though, that it's important that girls who are pregnant this young have someone to help them navigate life at school and with a baby and to help them make good plans for the future. I have sketched a mentoring program that I hope I can put into place once my own children are a bit older for girls who have children young. Your comments sound as if you want some punishment or consequence leveled against her, and that is something that I vehemently oppose (and that violates all types of laws).</p>
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<p>Speak to your daughter about it. Dialogue about sex and responsibility should have started way before 13, but if not, then now's your chance to have those talks. </p>
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<p>As for being mean, ime, it's very common among girls in that age range as they try to find out who they are and want to be. Boys don't seem to be that way as much (though, of course, I don't know that firsthand), but it's not uncommon for girls to just be mean. Help your daughter bully-proof herself and move forward.</p>
 
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<p>Just being a voyeur here. I currently have a K child, and after reading these posts am just DREADING those looming middle school years. I remember my own pre-teen school experience in the 80's, and it was just as bad. Those must be the most difficult years to parent.</p>
 

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<p><br>
You shouldn't dread it. Middle school is rough but there are also wonderful things about the age and school during that time. My DD (13) really made deep connections to a few of her teachers... real mentors. She needed some letters of reccomendations and I was floored by how well they knew and loved my child. Certainly, DD wouldn't have given up those relationships for anything in the world. Middle school was also the time where I got to see how strong DD was and what an amazing leader she is even when her peers are resistant to being led. It was a chance for her to really stretch her wings and accomplish meaningful things without our involvement and that gave her tremendous pride and confidence. Kids this age start to develop real, life long passions. They start to really get good at things like creative writing, art, music.... not "good for their age"... actually GOOD. DD and I started to really talk during this time... less like parent/child and more like adults. It's scary but also amazing to watch your baby transform into a young man or women, to see the quiet crushes, to watch their fashion sense develop, to listen to the giggling of girls on a sleepover all piled up on the couch, to hear them talk about world events as someone who is effected by them. They are difficult years to parents. Their peers can be icky but these years can also be quite rewarding and I for one, don't regret any of our choices. DD came through middle school famously and she's a strong high school freshman now. She's accomplished so much and I'm proud of the young woman she is.</p>
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<p>Believe me, you'll be proud too. They need their space to figure things out but they also need you more than any other age outside infancy really.</p>
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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>[email protected]</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1285504/socialization-in-the-higher-grades#post_16128117"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border-bottom:0px solid;border-left:0px solid;border-top:0px solid;border-right:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>Just being a voyeur here. I currently have a K child, and after reading these posts am just DREADING those looming middle school years. I remember my own pre-teen school experience in the 80's, and it was just as bad. Those must be the most difficult years to parent.</p>
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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>[email protected]</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1285504/socialization-in-the-higher-grades#post_16128117"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>Just being a voyeur here. I currently have a K child, and after reading these posts am just DREADING those looming middle school years. I remember my own pre-teen school experience in the 80's, and it was just as bad. Those must be the most difficult years to parent.</p>
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<br><br><p>I also say don't dread this time.  Yes, middle school years are challenging, but I have to say, this is an amazing time!  Sure, you could take a pp's suggestion and keep your kids really close, etc., but the reality is that learning how to be a bit separate, make their own (good or poor) decisions, find peers that reflect their interests--all this is part of growing up.  I also find that the middle school my dd attends is very sensitive to social issues, inclusion, and the emotional "stuff" that swirls around this age.  I haven't run into a jaded teacher-in fact I feel that the teachers are excellent resources. Luckily for ou,  middle school really hasn't been a "snakepit".  In fact, it's been pretty good so far.</p>
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<p> I think I might be struggling more if I was trying to keep everything he same as the elementary years, and had the same behavioral and emotional expectations of my child. Personally, I try to understand that I need to shift gears a bit here as well.   </p>
 

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<p>I have two DDs in middle school. They went to public school last year and attend a small private school this year. The first post doesn't describe our experience in either environment. We've never used the school bus on a regular basis (because it was a bit like Lord of the Flies).</p>
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<p>As far as school, there is a really big mix of kids in public school, and some of them are super nice and have very involved parents. Getting involved in school activities such as student council, chess team, drama, etc. helped my younger DD connect with great kids. She was also a cheer leader, but found the other girls in cheerleading to be unpleasant. There really are ALL types of kids. (My other DD has some special needs, so her situation is just different. She has met several great kids in both schools, and we've not had a problem with *mean girls* even though she might seem like an easy target)</p>
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<p><<My dd doesn't like most of them lol.>></p>
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<p>My advice would be to tell her to focus on the ones she DOES like. Invite them to do things together, have them over. Her experience is mostly about what she makes it. Whining and focusing on the negative will get her a negative experience. Sometimes, the mean kids are pretty loud, but that doesn't mean that there are more of them.</p>
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<p>As far as the pregnant 13 year old, my first though is that she was molested at some point. My heart breaks for her. Loving kindness and compassion and values that I try to instill in my children.</p>
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<p>Middle school is a dynamic, exciting age. It's tough in some ways because they kids are going through a lot, their bodies are changing and they are trying to figure out who they are, but can really talk about ideas and do so many cool things! I love seeing the women that my DDs are becoming. Every stage of parenting has it's own set of blessings, as well as challenges.</p>
 

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<p>Middle school can be a wonderful time of development. I know some marvelous teachers who are truly excited about teaching the middle school years. They enjoy working with students as they mature and develop independence, exercise their passion about the wider world around them, and become more involved in their communities. Many people discover a lifelong passion for a subject during the middle school years.  These wonderful teachers realize that they may provide the crucial spark by exposing students to opportunities in music, creative writing, sports, computers or any number of other subjects, so they are dedicated to creating good classroom experiences.</p>
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<p>There are tricky social matters to deal with in middle school, just as there are in primary school, pre-school, daycare, Sunday School, high school, soccer and swim team, choir, orchestra, gardening club, book club, bridge club, university dorm halls, sororities and fraternities, the gym, the workplace and the marketplace - anywhere people group together, in fact. In schools, there are at least some opportunities to develop and access resources and mechanisms to deal with these social issues.</p>
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<p>A mod-reminder to refrain from comparing learning at school environments and learning at home environments and to also refrain from derogatory language about either or both. Thanks.</p>
 

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<p>I also would not dread the MS years. As with any age, there are ups and downs. The most important thing, I think, is to keep the lines of communication with your child open.</p>
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<p>I don't think either of my kids had a pregnant classmate in MS, but I do know kids were having sex. The kid whose locker was next to my daughter's was stealing condoms from his parents and selling them! In all honesty - I had to admire his entrepreneurial skills! But really? You don't know the circumstances of the girl's pregnancy. There are any number of possibilities, none of which are anyone's business except hers and her parents.</p>
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<p>There are mean people and unjust happenings throughout life. This is a good time for them to learn how to handle them.</p>
 
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