The Middle School Survival Guide

By: Avani B, Sydney D, Laya K, and Adisri M

Middle School= A lot of work!!

When we first walk into that building, you think, Oh my gosh, this is going to be so fun!! But the sad truth is, middle school is not all fun and games for everyone. Girls experience these adversities more than guys. These are the years when the math gets harder, the competition gets tougher, and girls change, mentally and physically. But don't worry! With the help of some middle school girls, we can show you how to beat the heat!

Some common problems faced with middle school girls:

Though middle school may seem like no pressure at all, many tweens and teens are facing a load of problems every day like sitting alone in the bathrooms for lunch, being judged from their background and outward appearance, etc. Here are some of the main problems:


1. Stress: Peer Pressure, Who has what (Name brands, makeup, etc.), Pressure to be pretty, low self esteem, and so on.

2. BFFs, Frenemies, and Mean girls

3. Social Awareness from changing (including growth, appearance, etc.)

4. Boundaries and Consequences

5.Serious Problems: Like Health and Family related issues



This May seem like a lot, but don't worry! We can help guide you through them with these helpful following tips:

One of the most common problems faced in middle school: Stress

Stress: It is something that we go through everyday, but how do we stop it from getting over us? According to the founder of "Girl Talk", the best way is to do an "anchor" activity, or something else that can get your mind of things. From reading books and creating art to doing extracurricular activities, find another way to get your mind to relax from all that drama!


If you are stressed about your outward appearance, pressure to be pretty, bullying, or have low self esteem, go talk to someone about it! As mentioned in the book drama years, talking to an adopted older sister is the best way! Weather it be your older cousin, an older sibling, your mom, a high schooler, etc., talk to someone who you can trust to help you. Even if she may not resolve your problem, it will definitely lift a huge weight off your shoulders!


If you are stressed about your studies, failing grades, or that load of homework you have, don't freak out! Instead, plan out your schedule and break it into parts, so you will have an idea of how long it will take. Write down a list of things of ALL the things you need to do, even the smallest things, and you will feel yourself relax. Then, pick the top things you need to accomplish today, and number them from the first priority to last. This way, you don't have to remember everything in your mind and drive yourself crazy.

BFFs, Frenemies, and Mean Girls

Remember that awkward moment you talk to someone, thinking they are your friend and realizing they are not, or that awkward moment where all your confidence drains out, and you avoid the mean girls you suddenly see because of the way those mean girls judge you at school, or that awkward moment where you and your BFF has gotten into a fight, and the very next day you see her getting bullied and you don't know what to do. Don't worry, you are not alone. We have all been there at some point, confused about the decisions we need to make. We need to know that being popular isn't all that matters. Being yourself and not letting the mean girls get to you is important. We should also think about our friends before we make new ones. We shouldn't jump on people and share all our secrets with them before we know how they're probably going to act. "You have to test people out before you know that they'll be a good friend." (Ashley, eighteen 137.) Friends are true if they make you feel happy, if they make you feel really good inside. On the other hand, friends aren't true if they don't respect how you feel about yourself and are laughing about how bad you look in that dress or whatever.

Self Awareness: Body image, outward appearance, and Development

You know exactly where I am going to go here. This is the time where tween girls start changing, getting pimples and... Oh, don't worry! We all have to get there at some point. Even though it may seem like you are the only one who looks like a weirdo, look around you! Everyone is going through these changes. Don't feel alone because middle school is when girls go through the most changes, emotionally and physically. It doesn't take much to break down because of something someone said about your hair, your body, but they're just trying to get the spotlight off them. "When I think of self-esteem, I think of if you feel good about yourself, or if you let people tease you. A lot of girls think they're ugly. They're so hard on themselves. I think a lot of girls don't don't like the way they're made." (Emma, twelve, New Jersey 17.)

Boundaries and Consequences

Once girls go to middle school, they find it harder to communicate with parents. They're not sure what to share with their parents and what not to. "My parent's opinions change so fast. If I could choose a theme song for them, it'd be that Katy Perry 'Hot N Cold' song: 'It's yes then it no.' They're all over the place..." (Bridget, thirteen, New Jersey 209.) Middle schoolers find that their parents give them unreasonably tough punishments for doing anything that's hardly wrong. "I'm grounded for a B. I'm grounded for an A, just because I forgot two pieces of homework."(Kalli, eleven, Florida 212.) Middle schoolers find it hard to understand why their parents are doing this, but sometimes, rules have to be enforced so that things don't get out of hand. Girls also find it harder to confide all details about relationships, school, etc. to their parents because of boundaries. They think that if they share happenings with parents, they won't like what their daughters have been doing or will start lecturing them. To prevent this from happening, try talking to your parents about it and tell them how you feel. Reason with your parents, creating a limit to the consequences they give you. If this doesn't work, go talk to a counselor, a highschooler, or someone you trust to find a solution.

Health and Family Issues

Now is the time where you start developing disorders or you start worrying about your weight. The thing is, as long as you're not constantly eating Oreos and gummy worms you'll be fine. You don't need to worry about your weight so much that you start developing eating disorders and you start getting unhealthily skinny. Family issues are also a problem. While your parents might not stay together and they may get separated or divorced, your parents will always be yours. Remember that your parents have differences, so give your parents a bit of room if they're going through this but still find time to talk to them about how you feel and even if they're going to get divorced or separated, they'll be glad you shared how you felt about it and they'll try to make you feel better. Don't ever think you're alone and unhappy about your life though, because a lot of families go through divorce, and it's never easy. There are some girls who undergo depression and they start taking drugs, or worse, cutting themselves. Our answer to that is, see a psychologist if you're not feeling up to it and if you feel depressed about what's happening, but never ever go extreme and decide to suicide because life's a beautiful thing and people are going to get affected by your decision.

Citations:

Middle School Bullying Picture: "How to Bully-Proof Your Middle School Daughter." About.com Health. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Oct. 2015. <http://bullying.about.com/od/Schools/a/How-To-Bully-Proof-Your-Middle-School-Daughter.htm>

Middle School stress Picture: "Risk Taking in the Teen Brain." How to Support Your Teen's Social and Mental Developement. Education Nation, n.d. Web. <http://www.parenttoolkit.com/index.cfm?objectid=88BDDE90-4FBF-11E4-90E20050569A5318>.