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Helping Tweens Negate School Nightmares

by Tania Cowling | March 13th, 2014 | School, Tweens

looming schoolThroughout the years my three children had their fair share of school nightmares. With my husband in corporate construction we moved a lot, uprooting the kids every two years, even in the middle of a school semester. The kids faced new schools, being the new kid in class, trying to make new friends, and so on — it was tough, especially during middle school. Whether you’re in the same situation as ours, or your Tween just has the middle school jitters, here are a few of the dilemmas and how to work on diminishing the anxiety.

Transportation Woes

Whether it’s a new town or just a new year, the school bus can become a challenge. Tweens worry about their image. How will I look walking down the aisle? Where do I sit? Will I know anyone on my route? It’s that 15-to-20 minute ride that turns the morning hours into a major anxiety attack. And today with our issues with bullying, Tweens fear the bigger and meaner kids. Now, you can’t expect the bus driver to handle all situations — he/she must keep their eyes on the road and not what’s happening behind them. So as a parent, what can you do? Talk with your kids and ask them about bus behavior. If your kids balk about riding the bus, there must be a reason for your child’s transportation nightmare. Advocate having an adult supervise the ride or petition your school board to install video cameras on the bus.

Cafeteria Anxiety

Noon presents the dreaded lunchroom drama. Will I find a seat with my friends? Who’s cool and why can’t I make friends with the in-crowd? Please help me to not drop anything and look foolish. This has been a dilemma for generations. I even remember the cafeteria during my middle school days with certain tables for the jocks, preppies, band geeks, and nerds. I don’t think the cafeteria issues have changed much. As a parent, help your Tween to understand that the lunchroom is like a social grid and everyone has a place. Look for friends or other kids that have similar interests to sit with. This concept usually lightens the cafeteria anxiety.

Don’t Let Me Look Like a Klutz in P.E.

Some kids are natural athletes and some aren’t. For the non-athlete, whether it’s a physical issue or skill challenge, the physical education class can cause the jitters. The adolescent years are tough enough without feeling ashamed if you don’t measure up to the macho sports image in either gender. What’s more embarrassing than being the last kid chosen for a team by their peers? As a parent, help your child to understand that everyone shines in some activity. If it’s not sports, maybe your Tween is really good in music, art, or computers. Or if your youngster wants to excel in a sport, maybe an extra curricular sports camp can help him/her develop the necessary skills.

Growing up during the Tween years is awkward and thankfully these school nightmares were temporary with my brood. As we discussed and worked on solutions, my kids became less fearful and walked the halls with confidence. So will yours!

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