Ep 155: Growing Apart in Middle School


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We all remember middle school….probably not too fondly! Between the relentless social drama to the embarrassing body changes, middle school is pretty much the worst. Not only are kids today dealing with the things we dealt with, they’re also juggling the pressures of social media, an intense political climate and a terrifying pandemic as the cherry on top! Growing up through all this is no easy task, and neither is parenting our kids through it.

It’s hard enough watching teens struggle with these difficult years, but when they won’t talk to us, it can feel impossible to be a good parent. Unfortunately, it's not uncommon for pubescent kids to suddenly shut parents out with no explanation. With everything going on in their lives, a lot of kids feel overwhelmed and afraid to open up, or they think it’s their job to go at it alone. How can we get through to preteens and remind them that we’re here to help them get through the perils of middle school life?

To find out, we’re talking with Judith Warner, author of And Then They Stopped Talking to Me: Making Sense of Middle School. Judith is the bestselling author of multiple parenting books as well as a senior fellow at the Center for American progress–and those are just a few of her many accolades! In her work and personal life, Judith recognized that parents of middle schoolers seemed to really be struggling, but not sharing their woes with one another out of embarrassment or fear. That’s why she’s decided to write this book: to help parents wrap their heads around this wild time, and realize they’re not alone.

In the episode, Judith and I are covering why middle school is one of the most painful periods–but also one of the most important. We’re discussing why this age is so hard on parents, and what we can do about it. Plus, we’re addressing how you can get a middle schooler to finally open up, even if they’ve been shutting you out!

Click for full show notes, exercises, and parenting scripts from this episode

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