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Help Your Tween Fit in at School

by Lori Sciame | August 28th, 2014 | School, Tweens

girl with schoolbooksTweens yearn to fit in at school.  It’s an awkward time.  As outlined by the American School Counselor Association, children at this age must learn to cope with bodily changes, work on social skills, become adept at handling peer pressure, and develop personal interests and goals.  Add in the fact that they must also be more responsible for their behavior, and you can see how trying this time in a child’s life can be.

There are many ways you can assist your tween with fitting in at his or her school.  First, learn what a typical sixth grader acts like.  For one, a child of this age begins to talk – A LOT.  He will often tease his siblings and friends, and he loves “off color” humor and craziness.  He is beginning to be more socially aware, but he can be moody and frustrated much of the time.

And that’s just the beginning! A tween will also become more assertive.  She will also become more aware of others’ feelings, but she could fall victim of “cutting down” those not in her social circle.  As you can see, a tween can be a challenge to parent.  But with patience and love, it is not impossible to assist a child at this age with being comfortable in his or her own skin.

Now that you know what to expect concerning a tween’s behavior, you can learn valuable ways to assist him or her with fitting in at school.

1.  Listen and Don’t Minimize

Your tween’s problems hang over his head like an impending thunderstorm.  They are real, and they hurt.  Please resist the urge to minimize what he feels.  Listen to his concerns, as talking it out with a parent works wonders to help a child take control of the situation.  Only after he verbalizes his problem is it OK to step in and put things in better perspective.

2.  Teach Appropriate Social Behavior

Learning how to interact with peers takes practice.  Even adults can misread a social situation from time to time!  Help your child by making sure she knows how to take turns, how to let others talk once in a while, and how to really listen.  Manners, including good personal hygiene, will go a long way in assisting tweens to avoid being ostracized.

3.  One Friend Will Lead to More Friends

A child starting in 6th or 7th grade may focus on being a part of a group.  This may not happen as quickly as he likes, but finding one friend will be fine for a while.  We all know that finding one person we click with can make interacting in a social setting (school, and later work) much more fulfilling.  Explain to your son or daughter that the acto of “extending the hand of friendship” will always pay off.

4.  Immerse Yourself in the School

Another great tip for fitting in: take advantage of school groups, including sports and clubs.  The more a tween immerses herself in the school’s culture, the better the chance she will fit in!

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