My sister forwarded me an article on NPR the other day. It's about moms of middle schoolers and how they often will feel challenged. The article almost likens middle school parenting to new child parenting but says it's even worse.
Hmm, I wonder if these moms were feeling terrible because they'd always dreamt of being a mother. They found such joy in parenting and experienced what in the article they refer to as "the oxytocin "love rush" — that caring for little children provides."
I don't think I ever had that. I think I can pretty confidently say that I never experienced a "love rush" as a parent. In fact, early on in one of my posts maybe it was on I'd Rather Hatch a Chicken that I wrote that I really actually felt disconnected from my child when she was born. I felt like I was babysitting someone else's kid. I think it might be because I have always been selfish. Not in a terrible way but more in a way that I like to preserve my own sense of well-being - really take care of ME and this child was really, for lack of a better word, cramping my style.
Anyhow, I'm seeing how my own child is already exhibiting behavior that is indicated in this article as being indicative of 10 year olds...rolling of the eyes, not trusting that I know anything that would be good for her. So, I'd say this article came at a good time. I can just be mindful of this time and what may be - for me - an eloooongated period of middle school years that has now started at the age of 7. Sweet. I think I might just really dive into meditation. I think that might be a savior.
BUT, I am also very thankful to be in a Waldorf school where the curriculum is developmentally appropriate. They are well aware of the emotional "turmoil" that the middle school child may be experiencing and they meet it with the curriculum. A good example would be the following explanation from the Waldorf School of the Peninsula:
Students’ awakening intellects are ready for critical and objective thinking, knowledge of cause and effect, and more refined observation, which they experience in academic main lesson blocks, with themes such as the Renaissance, physics and the history of algebra. Their budding emotional lives blossom through positive and concrete modes of expression, which include the study and writing of poetry, literature and biographies. They experience a dynamic interplay of knowledge of self and the world as they engage in a wide variety of arts – from painting, sculpting, woodworking and orchestra and chorus to the annual production of a class play.
The school is certainly an extension of the family. Every teacher knows my child and we work in tandem to help our children navigate life. It's certainly not going to be a picnic but I know that I'm supported by the school as well as the other parents who have older children.