growing: upmiddle school

The Silent Treatment

Your guide to the ages and stages of development

Anger, you can tolerate. Rebelliousness, you can guide. But your young teenager?s silence is some thing you don?t know how to handle. As a parent, your role so far has been to nurture and protect your child in rough situations. But how can you help her if she won?t tell you what?s going on?

The first step in dealing with a suddenly silent middle schooler is to relax. As difficult as it may be, recognize that your child?s withdrawal is probably normal.

As young teens begin to explore their own individuality and independence, the first thing they must do is move away from you emotionally. Even if your son knows you want to talk and are willing to listen, sharing a problem with you might make him feel as if he?s giving up hard-earned freedom and space. As long as he still talks to you sometimes, this turning from you can be a healthy step toward maturity.

You might notice your child going to friends or other adults for conversation and advice. Again, this is normal, but it?s a good idea to pay attention to who she?s talking to. Encourage her to confide in God, church youth leaders or older, more mature Christian friends.

Just because your child talks less doesn?t mean the talking has to stop altogether. Let him know you understand some of what he?s going through. Talk about the struggles you remember facing when you were his age and how you felt. Ask him to tell you about a struggle or success he?s currently experiencing.

You might find that your young teen is more talkative when the two of you are riding in the car or working on a jigsaw puzzle together. When the focus is on something other than herself, your child will be more willing to open up to you.

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May 25

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