Common Challenges Middle School Students Face and How Parents Can Deal with Them

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Middle school is a time for self-discovery for your child. It is in this phase of their life that they’re exposed to the different experiences which can contribute greatly to their growth and development.

However, as with any period in a person’s life, middle school can present several challenges to your child with that they may find difficult to deal with. As a parent, one responsibility you have to consider is making yourself aware of the challenges that middle school students face or are already facing. Your child may not always be upfront about their experiences in school, and this might lead you to think that everything is going well in your child’s life.

Continue reading to learn more about these challenges and how you might communicate with your child to resolve or mitigate them.


Expression of individuality

Middle school is a time of self-discovery for your child. It is at this age where they may begin to discover their skills and talents and dabble in many hobbies. However, it is also at this age when some parents might feel like they can dictate to their children the activities that they should pursue.  Parents may not be aware that they’re doing this, but it can be challenging for your child if they are forced to do things they have no actual interest in.

When your child begins to feel like they have no control over how they will pursue their interests, they may harbor feelings of confusion. As a parent, one thing you can do to avoid this or to help mitigate these feelings is to openly communicate with your child. Have a face-to-face discussion with them about what really interests them. Once you have figured out what these are, the best course of action would be to support your child in their endeavors.


High academic pressure

Middle school students typically face many pressures from their academic life. Aside from having to juggle several subjects at once, they might also face pressure from their peers and teachers to consistently achieve excellent marks on test scores and other academic activities.

As a parent, you might also find yourself guilty of pressuring your child to do well. While pressure is not necessarily a negative thing by itself, what you can do to help ease this burden off of your child’s shoulders, is to reassure them that you would assist them in every step of the way.

Becoming dismissive of the pressures your child may face will not only make them feel even more pressure but might also lead them to further distance themselves from you.


Self-esteem issues

It isn’t difficult to imagine that one of the contributors to why your child might have low self-esteem, is that they are constantly comparing themselves with their peers. They might feel like they’re not doing a good enough job in their academics, especially if other students might be smarter, or better than them.

As a parent, one thing you can do is to constantly reassure your child that they’re wonderful in their own right and that they are brimming with their own individuality. When your child is able to feel this level of support from you, they may feel more comfortable in their own skin and in who they are as a person.


Household issues

You may not be aware of it, but household issues can also affect how effectively your child navigates this part of their life. Some common household issues which may affect your child could involve the constant arguing between you and your partner. Constant bickering among family members also counts as an example of this.

When your child is exposed to unhealthy and toxic environments, they may begin to seek other avenues where they can feel safer. Consequently, they may distance themselves from your home.

When you feel like your child is displaying signs of withdrawal from the family, try to regain their trust and presence by minimizing petty in-fighting in the household. Always consider the feelings of the other people in your home in your words and actions. In this way, your child will feel more welcome and will be able to thrive in a more loving, and healthier environment.



Bullying is perhaps one of the most sensitive topics these days. You might also find it difficult to determine whether your child has been a victim of bullying because they might not easily talk about such a loaded issue.

A great way to help your child open up about this serious matter is by setting aside time in the weekend, for example, to talk about their emotions. Create a safe space for them where they can openly communicate to you if they have experiences with a school bully.

The next course of action would be to have a formal discussion with your child’s teacher and counselor. You should be able to ensure the school would take all the necessary steps to create and foster a safer environment for your child and other students as well.


Key Takeaway

The challenges middle school students face can range from everything such as feelings of low self-esteem to potentially harmful experiences such as bullying. When you feel like your child may be dealing with these things, it’s important for you to offer them loving reassurance. Once you have developed this positive environment, they may begin to feel more comfortable in opening up to you about other types of issues they may face in their school.


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