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Welcome Parents!

Ms. Sparkman
School Counselor grades 6-8
Goal: To help you better understand the needs and
characteristics of your children during this critical time period.

Discussion will include:

1. What to expect from your young adolescents
2. How to better help your young adolescents in various ways
3. How to live with your young adolescent in a peaceful
Brain Development
 By age 6, the brain is already 95% of its adult size.
 Process of thickening peaks around age 11 for girls and 12 for boys (development).
 Frontal part of brain is still forming  Impacts:
 Judgment
 Organization
 Planning
 Strategizing
“Use it or lose it”
 Exuberant growth during these years, giving the brain enormous potential
 Critical time for brain
 What your child does/ their habits will be hard wired
 What you do as a young adolescent/ teen affects you as an adult.
 Involves sleeping habits
 Eating habits
 Hobbies
 Interests
 Academic success
Young Adolescents At Risk
 One in six eighth grade students smoked five or more packs of cigarettes in the
past month
 One third of eighth graders report drinking alcohol at lease once in the past
 Each year, one-fourth of our 10-15-year-olds are suspended from school
 Forty percent of middle-school-aged children are home alone after school at
least four days a week
 The pregnancy rate for girls under 15 years of age is rising faster than the
pregnancy rate for any other age group
 Thirteen-year-olds have the highest rate of suicide

Source: Carnegie Council on Education and Starting Again in the Middle, Michigan’s data from W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s report
General rule of thumb is that adolescents should get 9
or more hours of sleep each night.

• 69 percent of teens report insufficient sleep

• Sleep deprivation affects adolescents mood and

• Irritable
• Hyperactive

Anxious or depressed

Impulsive behavior
Associated with poorer school performance Habits
• More likely to repeat a grade level
Sleep Continued
• Sleep deprivation influences many aspects of children’s mood, cognition, and

What can you do?

• Telling your child to go to sleep can actually help

• Consider taking away technology, set a time limit on usage
• Suggest that they read or listen to music to help them wind
• Parents can influence amount of sleep teen gets with their
own habits
Change in Behavior
Important to know that all middle school kids go through a wide variety of changes.

Causes for change in behavior:

Hormones, brain growth, social development

• Bodies change
• attitudes change.
• Kids become forgetful, irresponsible, irritable, sulky, etc.
One of the earliest signs of approaching
adolescence is forgetting.

- Preadolescent minds are preoccupied with other

- These issues are more real and meaningful to
- Minds are filled with worries and concerns: Both
big and small

What can you do?

- Be understanding, patient
- Use creative reminders instead of nagging
- Encourage daily to do lists (not weekly)
- Try not to become frustrated or anxious
Irritable Adolescents
• Preadolescents’ hormones are changing
• These hormones bring on moods that can be physically
draining, and always unpredictable.
• Important to know their emotions are real
• Kids don’t know why they have become suddenly irritable

What can you do?

• Do not argue
• Try to keep the peace, go back to conversation at a later time
• Be wiling to listen  Don’t poke or pry
• Listen carefully and avoid lecturing
• Deal with only the precise, present problem
• Don’t bring in other issues.
General Suggestions for dealing with your adolescent
• Don’t take it personally

• Continue to be a parent  Adolescents need

supervision, assistance guidance, and love.

• Appreciate your child’s strengths

• Take time when it’s available

• Talk with other parents

• Keep in touch with the school

• Remember that it is a normal part of growing up

• You aren’t alone

Credit to Association for Middle Level Education


 The one thing 10 to 15 year olds all have in

common is that they are all different.
 These children grow at different rates
 Be patient and understanding
 Let your middle schooler know that you love
and enjoy him/her as much as you did when
they were younger
Your child may not show it, but young adolescents are devoted
to their families and are very much affected by them

• need for healthy family relationships

• Family involvement in the middle school setting

When Parents Increase Involvement in Schools:

• Students achieve more
• Like school more
• Have better internal family relationships.

It is important for parents to seek out ways to get involved.

I look forward to a great year of getting to
know you and your child!

1. Ted Talks: “The Mysterious Working of the Adolescent Brain”

2. What’s normal/ What’s not, Tips, Information

3. Literature for both teachers and parents

4. “Who Are the Kids in the Middle?” - NMSA 2003

5. Parent Resources on Various Topics: The Learning Community