School is about to begin … and in my house, there is excitement and nervousness. This year, my oldest daughter will go into sixth grade.
I can’t believe how my little girl has grown up, especially this past year. It seems like just the other day, she was starting kindergarten. She was learning how to read, write and tie her shoes.
It’s a whole new chapter for not only my daughter, but for my husband and me. Sixth grade for most kids is middle school, which means a new school, new teachers and new students. It also means I have a lot more real-life issues I have to talk to my daughter about. Middle school is not elementary school. Today’s middle school students deal with sex, drugs, alcohol, bullying, suicide, rape and more.
So how much do our kids need to know about these life issues to be ready for middle school? As a parent, I want to prepare my daughter, but I also don’t want her innocence gone. I want my 10-year-old to be a 10-year-old.
Still, I think it is important to talk to her about all these issues. I don’t have to go into details, but I do need to talk to her so she knows what’s right and wrong. If I don’t do it, someone will and I want her to have my same values and morals.
Like most kids today, my daughter knows a lot more about these issues than I did when I was her age. I think kids know more because of television and the Internet. What years ago was once taboo to show or talk about on television is now common practice.
And the Internet is a whole new media. It is great in some ways, but in other ways it scares me, especially with young kids. There is so much out there, and if you aren’t careful, misspelling a word can lead to a pornographic site.
As parents, we have to really pay attention to our children, especially when our kids are in middle school. This is a time in their life when they can be influenced by others. We need to pay attention to what they are learning in school, on social media and from friends. I think it’s important to have open lines of communication with your kids, so they can talk to you about anything.
It is hard being a parent. Let me re-phrase that: it’s hard being a good parent. You have to invest time into your kids. If you don’t do it when they are first experiencing these real life situations, you may never get to do it. They grow up so fast and before you know it they are 18 and off to college.