no. 75 - The Middle School Parenting Episode
If your skin doesn't know whether to break out a wrinkle if you're caught between planning the Third Grade Class Party and researching retirement plans or if you want to work out at the idea of cross bit makes your forty something needs. You've come to the right place. Welcome to unrelenting. You'll live I'm your host Ray and Jones and welcome to today's show and welcome back for the second a half a season three. I hope you had a wonderful break. If you are listening to this episode in real time I hope you had a wonderful holiday season and are enjoying a great start. Start the new year. If you are listening to this either on rewind or at some other point welcome to this on millennial life. I'm glad that you're here and I hope that whatever season you find yourself herself in right now you are enjoying it now for today's episode. We are going to kick off the second half of the school year with a topics topics specifically designed for those of us who have children either in middle school now or perhaps going into middle school and I know that's not everyone but as with with so many of these episodes you tell me that even if you don't think that the topic pertains to you often if you take the time to listen you will find something that is of used to those in in your life so I hope that you will listen today for helpful. Tips from my guest about how we navigate this changing landscape landscape of finding ourselves being parents to middle schoolers. Now this episode actually came about a little something like this late spring. I mean last year I got an email from a fan of the show named Corinne and she said Hi there. I'd love to hear an episode or two about parenting upper elementary. Mary and Middle School kids. There are millions of books and websites about parenting little kids. Hell you can commiserate with any preschool parent about potty training or picky eaters but when the kids are bigger they demand and deserve privacy. How do you know what apps are appropriate? How do you help them navigate a social life? How do you handle Social Drama Rama and having the right clothes? It's so much harder than parenting babies. She goes on to say a read the book below and really enjoyed it. Maybe the author might be a resource. Corinne I'm so glad that you email me and I'm so glad that you introduce me to author of the book that you're talking about middle school makeover lake over her name is Michelle and to be honest with you. I guy that chance to interview Michelle twice only once all the time that I've been putting this podcast together. If I ever ever had technical difficulties that ended up not recording an episode and I had a wonderful recording with Michelle many months ago really honestly before school ever started and then as unfortunate luck would have it. That interview didn't record so because Michelle was on deadline to who get her second book out which we will talk about in this episode. We waited a little while and we came back and we did a whole fresh new episode. It was fresh on both of our minds nine because we had been so long since we had done it together and. I think that you're going to hear that in today's episode as we go through this topic so with that let me introduce you to Michelle Shell. Michelle is an internationally known speaker author and educator who helps kids parents and teachers navigate the tricky middle school social world so her first book the one that Corinne told me about middle school makeover really gives parents insight to see what middle school is like in a whole new way. At at the time we spoke she was in the process of turning in the manuscript for her second book. Fourteen by fourteen. So those of you who have children already in middle school. You're going to pay attention to that part of the interview. That book is intended to help. Parents tackle the fourteen essential conversations. They should have off before their kids. Start High School so with that I will simply say Michelle. Welcome to the show. Hi thanks for having me. I'm so glad to have you on. It's it's been tough being able to match up schedules. You are such an in demand author. I know you're working on your next book and I hope we get a chance to talk about that. But specifically specifically a member of my audience had read one of your books about making the transition to being a parent of a middle schooler are and I just thought we could talk about you. Know what what it is like how difficult it is or parents To help children navigate this. Jump into Middle School I would love to. It's my favorite thing to talk about. We'll tell us really emotionally mentally physically. You know who where our kids when and they're making this jump into middle school compared to what it was like in elementary school. Sure so for me. The kind of Magic ages eleven although although that's very generic for some kids start little sooner or something a little bit later and For boys typically comes a little bit later but eleven is about the age when kids start Undergoing what I call The middle school construction project and so they start to build the three do things that they need to become an adult. And those are they need an adult body. So they're going through. All the hormonal changes and development physical mental changes ages of becoming an adult They need an adult brain. So eleven is when your brain kind of restructures itself to be able. Oh to think differently. For example kids stop thinking so concrete around that age and start testing getting hypotheticals and that means if you have an eleven year rolled at home. You've got a kid who likes to argue and isn't very good at it because they're beginning to get a get an interest in Sort of intangibles. You know so that. And that's a hard thing to argue about so there's an adult body and adult brain and then my very favorite component is. They're starting to develop their adult adult identity. And what that means is they're figuring out who they are apart from their parents They no longer want to be seen as a mini me to mom or dad or whoever's delivers raising that They really want to separate out and figure out who they are in the world as a standalone and not mean examining their beliefs and their preferences preferences and all that stuff and that also can can be a trying time for parents at home as someone who has a middle. Schooler has an elementary students getting closer Mr to middle school it it is. It's a tough time and I know I was so receptive to having you on the show after a listener audience mentioned it. Because I thought now I need this help as well What kind of help can you give parents to help them? Understand how to better navigate. It's a whole new world and as one of the fans of the show said in an email to me I mean there are. There's no shortage of resources to teach parents how to potty train and deal Jio with picky eaters but they're they're really just doesn't seem to be as much guidance at this stage for parents there is not you're right and draws me to this area But mostly it's just that I love developmentally what these kids are going through and my hope is that I can sort of change the lens through which people see Middle School because most people I know If you ask them about middle school either to reflect on their own experience like you couldn't pay that money to go back to the middle school so awkward and such a strange time Where and or they carry that forward so when their kids are going into middle school? They say I'm reading it. I just want to get through it. Let's get pasta. And my hope is to first and foremost have parents rethink that. Because I think it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy not and what I hope I. My first book is provide parents. Some relief around this is natural and not only. Is it normal for your kid to behave this way. Good and here's why they they really do separate from you and that can be messy and that can feel defiant but you want that in the long run. Let's talk about that separation. Let's talk about Y. You want that separation what that might look like what the benefits really are in a wind. Children are exerting some of that that that separation then really help parents can feel comfortable leaning into that. Yeah I love the way you phrase leaning into it So why do parents want this. We have to remind ourselves that our goal is to get our kids out there and not be dependent on US anymore starting again at around age eleven the beginning of developing that identity. Kids are trying to figure out how to do that. And it comes across as argumentative contrarian or just defiant for no reason but truly truly. They're really trying to figure out what what do I think. I've always believed what my parents believe. But maybe I shouldn't. Maybe I should examine my own morals and principles and values and they should The reason that you want them to do that. In addition to we WANNA have strong kids who have opinions of their own and are critical thinkers and all of that Dixon the next big phase of development. After you figure out what your unique identity is is figuring out how to partner up with other people. So when they're in the later ages of highschool certainly in college and then when they go out and the world. They're going to start looking at romantic relationships chips and certainly they do that. But it said affair very different level I'm talking about the kind of relationship that you remember for the rest of your life and that impacts future relationships so so if your child doesn't have a good sense of who they are. They are far more likely to end up in a relationship that is co dependent on someone else and that from being. We really don't want for kids. I'd never really thought about it. That way. Just in terms of exerting independence. I guess I've been thinking about you. Know exerting independence in risk-taking Vis the the the idea and the concept that it really helps formulate and have an put us on a trajectory for the relationships we have in the future is is is opening Just something that I got about. Yeah we tend to think of our kids in relation to US only and that's part of this The painful Minnesota this this phase of life and they pull away because we've only ever known members in relation to us but we have to shift our thinking into how is this person going to find find a partner. How are they going to Maintain relationships with co workers that are valuable in that aren't toxic and friends and you know we create create a really nice Kalina for kids but out of round middle school. They start to figure out that their future is not with us and so oh. They've got to figure out how to be likable to peers. They've got to figure out how to relate to other people naturally. There's so much drama and middle school because they recognize the importance of it. They don't quite know how to do it. Well yet takes a lot of practice. Let's talk about that drama. Let's talk about what I so many parents but you know peer parents parents parents of children. My my kids age ages Let's talk about where maybe the line is. How parents know you know the difference between allowing social conflict to play out versus understanding? What's happening when it's a bullying situation situation? Do you have a framework or guidance appearance knowing when to step in and windy pullback generally what I say is You do let your child asks you to do so some hot Company and they say my had been terribly mistreated by their group of friends that want. I want them to be able to speak up. Why are they willing to just you know let these kids things can still sit with them at lunch? parents have all of these concerns. Sure and and then they'll say he or she doesn't want me to say anything to the other parents to the principal to the guidance. Counselor but I really feel like I should Most of the time. You should do what your kid wants. Your kids going to figure it out on their own and everyone figures it out at different stages but they have to have the opportunity to practice figuring it out and if we swoop in and we saw all of the data social dynamics for them then they're not good at it and then when their school and they're in college and they're at a job if they haven't had time to practice These are the people who other adults are like. Last time person they don't they don't know how to interact and how to solve health problems and that kind of thing generally speaking ask your kid. Do you want me to help you figure this out you want. Just listen would you like me to Send ended email the guidance counselor person former. Got Your kid to weigh in on it. There's always the caveat if your child is being bullied and we all know by now bullying is when it is targeted and repeated behavior. So not just like someone was a jerk to me at the lunch table. But if it's consistent then I think you might need to say to your kid at this point but who've been going on for a long enough school needs to know it's my obligation to tell someone so certainly there were times when for your child health. You need to step in but for your child's health a lot of times you shouldn't you should let them try to figure it out right clarification clarification along the same lines. We're talking about bullying. We're considering just parenting in modern day. I WANNA ask you about technology and how so you know from your perspective if all if at all it really has influenced this life period for children in ways that maybe make it more or less less difficult for US As parents technologies huge. I would say Human Nature hasn't changed. People are the same as they've ever been in many ways. What technology does is it? amplifies speak gave her and it gives people more access so You know a kid. Ah Who could come home from school and have a break. If they've got a phone on their hip every second of the day they might be getting texting messages. That are unkind until they. I feel like a and never get to just get get it get. Some peace from this break from technology are hugely important for kids at this age I'm not someone who demonize technology or so. I don't think it in and of itself is a bad thing. In fact I think there are lots of great things that come out of social media particularly for kids who might have trouble connecting with someone face to face at school. It's really nice to be able to just send someone attacks And there's some comfort in that even for me as an adult. I know I have a little bit of social inviting Cardi GonNa facebook and see what are some conversation stars I can pull up. Oh this -cation or this person get just graduated. I can talk about that so I think for some people. It's really a valuable social tool but we have have to offer recognize that it cannot be competent in our lives. We've gotta take breaks now. We are talking in have just talked about middle school but I know that you have a very exciting project coming down the line and I wanNA briefly talk about it because the UN millennial audience is really comprised of what I would call. Older millennials allotted gen-x tres and then even young boomers so in that age range. We have plenty of parents listening. Who maybe are about to get into middle school but we have parents who are already with kids in middle school and about to you head off to high school and I think your next book is right on target for them? Tell us a little bit about that. Oh thank you for asking All about this book right now. I'm completely immersion. So you're broken up on fourteen and it's the fourteen essential conversation to have with your kid before they start high school and how to have them and I. I know that fourteen probably goes into freshman year for a lot of people and trying to just just get to that sort of before they get in the car on their own and leave. You don't WanNA listen anymore anymore. I want to get in that sweet spot of conversation so it it's a look at And I've been doing this work for fourteen years so It's a look at what parents have told me. They want most for their kids once. They're about to fly the nest and how to have conversations that create a platform arm for that early on so it's things like you know. How do you help your kid take personal responsibility for their actions? How do you make sure that they're making healthy decisions without their own body What about Peer relationships how can I have conversation. Support my child having healthy friendships. Those I'm just saying I will be one of the first ones to pre order for this book. I can't wait it's you I. You know I honestly wish I. I had known about your book Middle School Makeover Prior to my first child entering middle school. Thankfully we're not completely done yet and I feel like we. We have made some some good changes and some good updates in where we're headed in the right direction. But I I definitely want to arm myself with this good read before he enters high school. And when will that book tentatively be out to the book is it's written. It's dude the publisher which is harmony which is an imprint of random house in a couple of months. What I have learned? Is that the publishing process is long people who'd be go to order their copy they'll be able to order it in here And it comes out in spring of twenty one now perfect while of course I will be keeping keeping a listener of this podcast updated on about that book. Anybody who's in the this millennial life podcast facebook group As you know always say that the conversation continues to take place after each show in that group and so I will be sure to let people know as that book is published in hand available. Some Sheldon I. The last thing that I wanna do is just make sure that people know how they can find you and your current book and all the things that you have going on online because in addition to being an author you have groups yourself a group yourself on facebook and a lot of cool things Available online in terms of resources. So let people know how they can find find you The the sort of best way probably is just to go to my website which is Michelle Akers Dot Com. So it's M. I c. h. e. l. l. e. V. A. R. READY DOT COM and. That will get you everywhere but if you want to be more direct if you go to facebook and type in less stress You'll come up with a facebook group less stress middle school parents So quick to join that and now we've got about six thousand members and posting every day with questions like helped my hit came down on out there that would totally appropriate for school and we got into a fight. What do I do only by everybody? Deal to us with the middle. School are Really good advice there and Finally on twitter who my full name. Michelle Acre than I'd love to talk I will place a link to the facebook group. Michelle's Michelle's website Michelle's twitter account. Always all of that in the show notes for listeners which are always available on this Emma lineal life dot com or in and whatever podcast APP that you're listening to this podcast on Michelle. Thanks so much for taking time to join me today. I really appreciate it thank you okay. That wraps up my interview with Michelle. I hope that you found that helpful. I know that the first time that I spoke in the Shell and the second time that I spoke with Michelle. I walked away okay. With a whole new understanding of the challenges my own children are facing as upper elementary and as middle schoolers in navigating advocating the world that we're living in today I gained a new appreciation of how important it is for me as a parent to be willing to let them off that that we should just a little bit to give them the opportunity to take safe wrists and I think that that's really a takeaway especially for parents like me who tend to be very very black and white and are all or nothing either. I don't want you participating in something completely or hey it's a free for all and I have really realized that sometimes sometimes my all or nothing mentality is one of the things that's hampering my children and being able to develop some of the life skills that they are going to need need later on in life. It's scary as parents. We see so many scary stories and anecdotes and conversations online and among other parents about all the the risks. That are out there. But I think Michelle's interview is a reminder that our job as parents is to figure out what are the safe risks that we can allow our children take and how can we allow them to take those risks and then be there to provide bumper rails along the way I am going to take the briefest of break so so don't go anywhere. Today's odds and ends ending is about a Christmas present that I got surprised me and everyone around me at how much I loved it. And so many friends and fans of the show have gone out and purchased one for themself. If you don't know what I'm talking about you need to hang around. That's all coming up next. Today's episode of this unbelievable life is sponsored by registered DIETITIAN television or. DTB's talented talented. Experts are the ultimate brand ambassadors. 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Okay so one thing that you need to know about me is that I am extremely particular about about my hair and I don't mean that in a Fussy Frou frou way I just mean I have very specific ways that I have learned in these forty five years of doing my hair doing it the way that I feel like it can be managed. I battled curly hair the whole time that I was growing up I frankly hated it and I thought that the day that flat irons were invented was one of the best days of my life but that being said it's cumbersome to get up every day or every other day or however many days that I want and and do a blowout of this curly hair which is fairly thick and then also put a flat iron to it but that is the strategy that I learned years ago when in the first go round of the Jennifer Aniston hair hairstyle became popular and I have kept it throughout the years in various links with bangs without bangs but it has all been a variation of a blow out with a flat iron so when my mother-in-law gave me a hairbrush dryer for Christmas. I'm I'm sure the look on my face was one of a little bit of skepticism. As I said I'm pretty particular and even my own mom knows you don't go out and typically buy emme things for my hair. It's something that I just know. Exactly what I want and don't usually deviate from the system. But when she gave it to me she mentioned that they had raved. What about it on the today show? And if I didn't like it she'd be happy to send it back. I'm trying to embrace as I learned more about an instagram. One and the rigidity that goes along along with that that sometimes there may actually be other ways to do things have been how I've always done it and it may be something that you know what works maybe just as well L.. In this case it worked even better. I am blown away with how much I love this product. Now I will tell you. I have the hairbrush. Airbrush dryer that she gave me a have it on the beauty section of my Amazon storefront and to get to that. If you're interested in it is Amazon. John Dot com slash shop slash. Reagan Jones. Ardian it's also linked from the homepage. It's labeled Amazon on this millennial life dot Com. You can can always find my favorite products and things that I mentioned either here on the show or on instagram. You can always find it through that channel so I have it up there and of course as an Amazon affiliate if you purchase from Amazon through that link I make very small commission but your price stays the same. I say that to say this I have. I have no affiliation with this hair. Brush Dryer Company. It's not even a brand that I'm familiar with. I know I've heard some people especially on instagram. I and some friends who've messaged me say that there's a really popular revlon one. That's out there. That people seem to be loving. So if you're interested in a more name brand approach that is the one name brand that I have heard about. But if you go to Amazon dot com slash shop slash Reagan Jones R. D. N.. Or simply look in the show notes of this episode. You will see a link to the particular hairbrush dryer that irises for Christmas. That I have fallen in love with to the point that I am no longer using a hair dryer or round brush and I am only occasionally using a flat iron so talk through this hairbrush drier for you just I a little bit. I've shared on instagram. A number of different times. I've even shared it in the podcast facebook group. So you may have already seen this if you are in in that group if you're not it's facebook dot com slash groups slash this. A millennial live the feedback that I have gotten is overwhelmingly positive from everyone who purchased it now. Usually if people don't like something that I recommend I don't hear that that often I've only heard from one listener of the show who actually actually no professionally as well and she said that. Her hair was extremely thick very curly. I suspect a little more on the curly wiry side and she said for her she did not feel like it was helpful because her strategy has always been let her hair dry naturally and then the next day after she's done that at night I guess put a flat iron or round brush to it so I don't think for her. It's been magical everyone else I've heard from it's done for them what it's done for me. Well what is that Reagan. It's basically taken away the need to have to use around brush and a hairdryer and flat iron. So it's cut the time in half and for whatever reason it seems to give a more salon-quality blowout in other words. You know when you get a salon blow out and it feels like it's lifted left the roots but when you do it at home it seems just a little bit flatter. This hairdryer brush seems to give a lot more of that route lift and one thing that I noticed about it. That makes did a little bit different than I would have anticipated if somebody were just describing it to me is that it's oval in shape. I asked my hair dresser and my silence about got it because I really value her opinion. She knows how particular I am about my hair. And she also said what a good product these new hairbrush dryers are that they do do do a great job and there is some validity to that oval shape giving a little bit more lift at the root. I've noticed that I'm able to get really close to the route route when I'm holding it in my hair to let it dry and I love the way it looks. I love the way it looks fresh dried. I also love it on day. Two and day three by day three. I do have to use a little bit of dry shampoo but it seems to keep a lot more volume then doing my own blowout with around brushing hairdryer and flat iron and I suspect some of that is because I'm not having to put a hot iron to it as much now a few more things to note if you are interested. It's really important when you're using using this hairbrush dryer to be sure that you're getting all the moisture out of your hair if you want avoid frizz that's just basics when it comes to a blow out but it's it's really easy to put the brush through your hair a few times and feel like it's kind of dry and then put it down and think you're done but I encourage you if you you get one or you've gotten one and you're not having great success to just make sure that you are going through and really holding the hairbrush drier in your hair long enough have to be sure that there's all the moisture a hairstylist. That I used to have years ago. Said you should be able as your hair is cool to run your fingers through it and not feel any moisture if few feel moisture you're going to get kink and you're going to get frizz the only other point that I would give you is just to remember you are not simply brushing going through it like you would a brush but it's a round brush that you are rolling your hair under drying from the roots and then drying out to the end and so with that I think I have schooled you on everything that there is snow on my new favorite appliance in my life. I got that unexpected gift for Christmas and I actually picked out an espresso machine that I had my eye on four honestly years and when it went on sale at bed bath and beyond I had to snatch one up if you are interested in knowing more about that message me on instagram. I'm at Reagan. Jones are Diene and I will tell you about how much I I love that gift as well but I won't take up any more of your time today talking about Christmas gifts. Espresso machines or hairdryer brushes. But I I will again remind you that anytime. You have an episode of this podcast. You'd like to hear more about or a topic. You'd like to suggest you can always do that. Ah By going to this. Lineal Life Dot com slash guest ideas or you can send me an email Reagan at this other lineal life dot com. You can message me all across social show media. I'm Reagan Jones R. D. N. on facebook and Instagram and am Reagan Jones R D on twitter. I have an entire second half off of this season. Already lined up for you a number of interviews already done. I can't wait to package them up. I've got one coming up next. That is going to be honestly Lee one of my favorite episodes that I've ever done because of the experience that I had leading up to the episode. And that is a recap of my experience with the five day fast mimicking McCain Diet may sound a little scary but it was super enlightening and really honestly kick started my new decade and a focus on healthy the eating as nothing has ever done for me probably since I became a registered Dietitian. So I'm excited about that one. I'm excited about all the episodes that are coming up. If you haven't told your friends about this podcast I am personally asking you to do so. That is how so many people become listeners of the show loyal fans like yourself herself and say that they heard about it from a friend. So thank you so much for listening subscribing downloading and sharing with your family and friends the podcast cast is always available on this. I'm Lineal Life Dot Com for listening and downloading. It's available on Apple. ITUNES stitcher spotify Pandora. Br and Google podcasts. Or wherever you get your podcasts from including my favorite APP for all things news related the NPR one out. I hope you're avenue a great start to the year. Thanks much for tuning in today. I'll talk to you next time take your.