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… your straight-A scholar may suddenly forget their homework.
… your sweet, quiet child may now have teenage emotional outbursts.
… your reasonable, responsible student may have a few mindboggling lapses in judgment.
When that happens, our first reaction may be to panic and wonder, what went wrong here? But, most of the time, nothing is really wrong. Our students’ brains are simply under construction.
In their book, Teen Stages, authors Ken and Elizabeth Mellor describe this as a “cognitive rebirth” beginning around age 13 and continues into young adulthood. That means during middle school and high school, your student may show some behaviors reminding you a lot of their toddler and early elementary years. And…it’s perfectly normal.
While no two children are the same, and development is surely going to look different and take different amounts of time for each one, it may be helpful to look at the stages Mellor outlines to see where your student fits and what may be coming next.
This week, take notice of one positive trait in your student that they inherited from you. (This can be something you can do as a stepparent, adoptive parent or foster parent as well. Genetics may be responsible for some traits, but observation and learned behavior play an important role, too!)
Maybe you’re both good at math. Maybe your son is starting to show some of your great conversational skills. Or maybe your daughter is wired to be competitive, just like you. No matter what it is, pay attention to the positive traits passed on to your student. Use the following form to write your youth a message.
One thing I’ve noticed about you lately is that you’re ________________________________.
That’s a great trait to have and it’s one that has helped me over and over.
I’m proud of the person you’re becoming.