Want to help your eighth-grader with their self-management skills? Here are some tips that experts suggest.
Be an example of self-management
At this age, some children may say that their parents are “stupid” or “don’t understand anything,” but parents are still one of the biggest influences in their lives. It can be frustrating to deal with a middle-schooler who may seem more difficult than in their younger years, but by maintaining your own composure, remaining calm, and addressing your child with respect, you can show them what self-management looks like. Try to remember that you will feel better if you’re able to maintain your calm when dealing with them, and try to talk through your strategies, too. For example, “I’m going to count to ten before I respond to your question.” You might be surprised when you see your actions reflected in your child.
Remind your child that there are consequences to his actions
Slamming doors, yelling, or acting out against family members or friends may happen frequently at this age. When your eighth-grader has calmed down from an outburst, talk to them about how their actions reflect on their and affect the family. For example, they may scare a younger sibling or pet when slamming doors, or they may hurt a friend’s feelings when acting out. You might also point out a time where they were able to handle a similar situation better. By pointing out their self-management skills and how their actions affect others and their perceptions of her, you are giving them a tool to see the impact of their behavior on the people who matter to them -- including themselves.
Give your child household tasks to complete each week
These shouldn’t be considered “chores” but simply tasks that everyone in the family has to do to keep the household running smoothly. Emphasize that everyone in the family has tasks to do and it’s part of being a team, or family. Your child could be in charge of taking out the garbage, doing the dishes, feeding the family pet, or sorting and folding laundry. Allow them a choice in which task your child does, but stay firm that your child needs to choose something. By doing a task they may or may not enjoy, they are learning more self-management and responsibility, as well as how to be an active member of the community.
To learn more about self-management for your child, check out our eighth-grade self-management page.
Parent Toolkit resources were developed by NBC News Learn with the help of subject-matter experts, including Maurice Elias, Director, Rutgers Social-Emotional and Character Development Lab; Jennifer Miller, Author, Confident Parents, Confident Kids; and Michele Borba, Author, and Educational Psychologist.