8th Grade Fall Parent Meeting
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8th Grade Parent Meeting 8/23/2008 Dr. Allan Gold, Psychologist, Kit Pappenheimer, Principal, Dr. Alan Vann Gardner, Assistant Principal, Allyson Byrd, Counselor What changes in your child have you seen since 7th grade? • maturing: settling into middle school (relationships) • lots of communication, then no communication (they tell you everything one week then the next week they don’t tell you anything) • wanting to be more independent (be alone, without parents) • being capable of doing things (fine if he’s left alone, ) • more responsibility (desire to deal with things themselves and not have parents involved) • argue to get out of any responsibility • eat a lot, consumption of food • more homework • interested in opposite sex, then not interested in opposite sex, back and forth • more aware of what other people think, self conscious • body conscious (aware of what they eats, weight, etc.) • much more self aware, but less verbal • being aware of the outside world Think of development in four areas: physical, cognitive (thinking/intellectual), social, emotional Physical: 8th graders are right in the middle of puberty This is a dramatic period of time with physical changes (hormonal changes) which affect all other aspects of how they are. Some students have not yet hit puberty and others are well into it. Their physical development affects their friendships and interests, their moods, so expect dramatic fluctuations and changes. It is now more difficult for the later developing boys and girls. They may need reassurance that their time of development will come and that it’s perfectly normal to be right where they are. Cognitive: They are going from concrete thinking to abstract thinking, so that they are capable of much deeper understanding of the world around them. This is a great time (election) to exercise their skills in understanding abstract ideas. One big advantage of this leap in cognitive development is that they develop idealism: they can see a world of possibilities. Try to channel their youthful energy and idealism to do good in the world. Social: They are now starting to accept one another better than in the previous two years. They know each other well and begin to accept each others’ unique qualities. They are still shuffling friendships, but are better able to accept changes. They now have the skills they need to resolve conflicts Emotional: This year they will be facing the end of their Reed District years, that they will be leaving their comfortable nest, old friends, and will be going to high school. This causes a range of emotions from excitement to anxiety and sadness. Students applying to private high school can experience additional stress from the application process and their self- esteem may be more vulnerable because of the selection process. There is also stress from the additional workload at school. Eighth graders need a lot of emotional support. Questions/Issues/Concerns Offered by Parents: Technology world/Communication: Parent can’t protect kids from the media and everything that is in the cyberworld. This is a great opportunity to have talks and discussions with your kids about what they may see and experience online. Talk with them, for example about “What do you do when you come across a website that is scary?” Have open communication with your kids. Talk about basic values and morals – why you object to some websites, what is the matter with negative communications online, why it is important not to videotape people on cell phones or pose provocatively with webcams. Educate yourselves about what is going on. School does have content filters for laptops. However this is a network filter and works at school . You will still need to monitor when kids have access to other wireless networks. Communication within the family is an ongoing issue. It is important to maintain basic respect, especially from kids this age. Often a family meeting addressing this can help: “The respect level around here has really gone down. What can we as a family do about this?” There can be consequences for lack of respect; they don’t need to have everything they want and you don’t need to do everything for them, if they don’t show basic respect. There is a particular advantage if they have some older person – uncle, big brother, family friend, whom they trust and can talk to besides you. Also, remember from Challenge Day: parents need to listen. Academics: When your child is feeling anxiety and stress, ask them where is the stress and anxiety coming from? Have them get specific with you, what teacher, what class etc. Then have your student be a self-advocate and go to the teacher. If that doesn’t work then parents can follow up with teachers. If all else fails, then call Kit. According to Kit, sleep is very important! If students are staying up too late, parents can write them a note to give to the teacher saying when they went to bed. Help your kids plan out the week: ask your kids on Monday what they have for homework/projects for the week? As parents, you are now in the role of a consultant and not the administrator! Be good listeners. Brainstorm ideas with them to help them problem-solve, so they can meet their academic responsibilities, and so you’re not the homework police. Tell them personal stories about you when you were their age & tell them how you solved your problems in middle school. This can help them in both the academic and social problem solving realms.