I love this time of year. Have you seen the new middle schoolers?
They look so young and innocent stepping through the school doors. They enter with eyes wide open, brains like sponges, and bodies in such a goofy array of morphing sizes and shapes. Over the next three years, the transitions will be remarkable.
And I’m not just talking about their bodies. Although body changes may be in the forefront, there’s a new phase of brain growth that begins around age 12. It has huge implications.
This phase opens up an unparalleled opportunity for nailing down prevention messages. To keep it simple, there are FOUR major brain changes that make it the perfect time. I want to share them with you along with some ways you can use them to your benefit (and ultimately hers).
🧠 She’s developing new abilities in reasoning and understanding.
👉🏼 Include her in discussions of complex topics and alternate viewpoints.
🧠 She thrives when she takes risks and experiences thrills.
👉🏼 Encourage healthy risk taking.
🧠 Her brain will live in “go” mode without any semblance of reliable “brakes.”
👉🏼 Present her with challenging situations and have her think through options and possible consequences.
🧠 She is purging brain “data” that hasn’t been used in a while, and laying down permanent circuits based on things she does, thinks and sees over and over.
👉🏼 Encourage her to spend time developing skills she hopes to have for life.
And I’m just going to put it out there that the second they cross that middle school threshold, prevention messages can be about anything and everything.
For instance, by middle school, your child knows something about sex whether you’ve discussed it with her or not. She knows what a lot of those explicit song lyrics are referring to. She’s seen or will see some adult content that her friends – real or virtual – are sharing. There’s so much. (If this worries you, I encourage you to watch our Science of Reproduction Class with her to provide her with the facts and start a healthier conversation than she’ll hear at school).
It’s time to engage her in conversations about ALL of these things.
I don’t mean to overwhelm you. Take it one chat at a time. But, let me reassure you that she WANTS to hear from you (whether she acts like she’s listening or not — she hears you), and now is a perfect time when her brain is primed for prevention messages and middle school culture is offering up lots of new ideas and information.
Did you know Girlology has grade-by-grade video on demand playlists to support her and you — on topics like this and lots others? Learn More HERE.