It’s been a few weeks since we first began to navigate the uncertain and choppy waters of junior high. Sure, we’ve been wading in the waters of tweendom for a while but these last few weeks have been a full-fledged introduction into what lies ahead. The first all school dance last Friday and as I sat in the parking lot waiting for her and listening to the same kind of music that I knew was being played inside the dance, I marveled at the many changes that have occurred in the 20 plus years since I was in junior high school.
For starters, my mother and I did not have the same taste in music. Sure she liked MC Hammer but failed to understand my love for Digital Underground and there I was singing along to the latest. It also dawned on me as kids searched for their parents, phones in hand, that, while familiar, junior high is now a whole new ball game. The access to technology and information is nothing like what my generation had and we thought we were doing it big with pagers. So to save everyone else the shock of what I’ve been going through I’m sharing the seven things that go through your mind when your kid starts junior high.
- What if the girls are mean? Will they make friends?
They didn’t make that movie for nothing! Once upon a time I was 12 and in junior high school with an abundance of other girls who were all going through puberty and therefore off kilter about themselves and thusly took it out on others. Girls can be mean. Not saying they all are but I still remember the sting of a few snide remarks and of course I would do anything to spare my baby girl from that but still, it’s bound to happen. Worse still, it may come from those she thinks are her friends.
- It’s Birds + Bees time.
If you haven’t already done so, you’re going to have to have a real talk or they’re going to learn about sex from strangers. Misinformed strangers at that. Talking about bodily functions with your offspring can be cringe worthy but its better they hear the truth from you than their equally impressionable friends.
- First Day Drama
Will they get lost/ go to the wrong class? – Absolutely. Or not. But most likely. And they will be embarrassed for a brief moment and then recover and get where they need to be, hopefully before the bell rings. I can’t recall a single class from junior high through college where someone didn’t’ end up in the wrong class for a few minutes. If they don’t have a chance to tour the school or get their schedule ahead of time it can be overwhelming
- New parents? Yikes!
I feel like I just got in good with a core group at our elementary school and that took me a few years! Now I have to get to know a whole new crop of folks? Scaaary. The upside is that with this new set of school parents isn’t as in your face as before so it’s easy to not be as involved. Along with new parents at school you’ll be dealing with new parents on the friendship front and now need to learn about them! When will it all end!!??
- All. The Feels.
You will be much more emotional than you thought. Whether it’s your first child or last there is still something that tugs at you when your kid And so will they. The first day of school is rough for all, parents are rushing to get kids to school on time and get first day photos while kids are worried about their potential classmates and teachers. Add the task of switching classes and an entire years’ worth of uncertainty and your once easy going kid is now a walking hormone and the slightest thing can set them off. It’s a bit like living with a toddler again
- Co-Ed Dances.
Long gone are the days of super sweet father/daughter outings and all school events with tons of families and here to stay are the afternoons (possibly evenings) of putting all their home training to use. Dances will now be a seasonal thing and there’s nothing you can do to avoid it. Shaking their groove things without your watchful eye keeping them in line means establishing a level of trust between you and your tween. Thankfully most schools require parental signatures to attend and offer an extensive list of consequences for any violation of the rules.
- You are now officially old. And you know nothing.
Without realizing it you will begin spouting off fabulous lines from your childhood echoing your parents “well, when I was your age…..” mantra and knowing without a doubt your own child is mimicking your own visage at that age while the voice in their head says “she doesn’t get it. She has no idea how I’m feeling. WHY is she still talking?” Life experiences and degrees count for nothing since you now KNOW nothing and could obviously never relate to what they’re going through.