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    Social Emotional Guide for Middle Schools and Their Families

    It’s no secret that middle school can be a difficult transition for many students. For starters, middle schoolers have a ton of new responsibilities and challenges. Coupled with the changes all middle schoolers face, things can feel tense around the house. Here are some helpful tips to help strengthen families during these exciting (sometimes stressful) years.

    • Establish a reasonable balance between recreational activities, work schedules, and family time.
    • Talk with each other and listen carefully to understand each other’s viewpoint.
    • Demonstrate respect for each person’s ideas, thoughts, and feelings.
    • Help each other and be willing to let others help you.
    • Keep in touch with other families going through similar things and develop relationships.
    • Develop a shared set of meanings, values, and goals with your family, and talk about them with your children.

    Sometimes, it can be helpful to do an emotional check-in, for both students and families. A helpful device to remember is “P-A-S-T-A.”

    • P: Pause and breath for a moment
    • A: Ask yourself how you feel
    • S: Say how you’re feeling out loud, or write them on paper.
    • T: Think about your feelings and sit with them for a while.
    • A: Ask yourself what you need

    It can also be useful to get into the habit of journaling. Writing down how you feel is a great way to process and understand confusing emotions. Here are a few prompts to get you started.

    • Write a reflection about a time when you felt mad, sad, or nervous. Include details on what you did to feel less mad, sad, or nervous.
    • Write about what you hope to accomplish the next 12 months. Include details on how you will accomplish these goals.
    • Write a narrative about a time that your opinion changed. What caused it to change? Use details, dialogue, or descriptions to tell what happened.
    • Think of a way that you helped solve an issue faced in your family, school, or community. Write a personal essay describing how the issue was resolved.
    • Write about a time you felt uncomfortable at first but more relaxed later. What did you learn about yourself through the experience?