Middle School Matters: The 10 Key Skills Kids Need to Thrive in Middle School and Beyond--and How Parents Can Help

Middle School Matters: The 10 Key Skills Kids Need to Thrive in Middle School and Beyond--and How Parents Can Help

by Phyllis L. Fagell


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A counselor and popular Washington Post contributor offers a new take on grades 6-8 as a distinct developmental phase—and the perfect time to set up kids to thrive.

Middle school is its own important, distinct territory, and yet it's either written off as an uncomfortable rite of passage or lumped in with other developmental phases. Based on her many years working in schools, professional counselor Phyllis Fagell sees these years instead as a critical stage that parents can't afford to ignore (and though "middle school" includes different grades in various regions, Fagell maintains that the ages make more of a difference than the setting). Though the transition from childhood to adolescence can be tough for kids, this time of rapid physical, intellectual, moral, social, and emotional change is a unique opportunity to proactively build character and confidence.

Fagell helps parents use the middle school years as a low-stakes training ground to teach kids the key skills they'll need to thrive now and in the future, including making good friend choices, negotiating conflict, regulating their own emotions, be their own advocates, and more. To answer parents' most common questions and struggles with middle school-aged children, Fagell combines her professional and personal expertise with stories and advice from prominent psychologists, doctors, parents, educators, school professionals, and middle schoolers themselves.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780738235080
Publisher: Hachette Books
Publication date: 08/06/2019
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 116,898
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Phyllis Fagell is a licensed clinical professional counselor, a certified professional school counselor, and a journalist. She has worked in both public and private schools with students in grades K-12, focusing on middle school for the last several years. She currently works full time as the school counselor for Sheridan School in Washington, D.C. She also provides therapy to children, teens and families in private practice.

Table of Contents

Foreword xi

Introduction xv

Chapter 1 What's the Big Deal About Middle School? 1

Values and Integrity "It's easier to lie than deal with all the drama." 8

Chapter 2 Making Responsible, Healthy, and Ethical Decisions 11

Chapter 3 Fostering Honesty 24

Chapter 4 Encouraging Kindness and Empathy 35

Chapter 5 Embracing Difference in Self and Others 49

Social Skills "I feel judged and ignored." 65

Chapter 6 Managing Shifting Friendships 67

Chapter 7 Dealing with Bullying 79

Chapter 8 Coping with Gossip and Social Turmoil 91

Chapter 9 Growing Up Sexually Healthy 103

Chapter 10 Preparing for Love 120

Learning "Everyone is getting A's except for me." 129

Chapter 11 Encouraging Balance and Setting Reasonable Expectations 131

Chapter 12 Tackling Homework 141

Chapter 13 Intervening When School is a Struggle 151

Empowerment and Resilience "There are all sorts of people in the world, and we'll all find our place." 163

Chapter 14 Connecting with Boys and Helping them Connect with Others 165

Chapter 15 Raising Strong, Empowered Girls 179

Chapter 16 Taking Risks in a World of No's 193

Chapter 17 Managing Setbacks and Shoring Up Resilience 205

Chapter 18 Preparing Kids for a Changing World 219

Conclusion Moving Forward: "Make mistakes, model self-compassion, and grow alongside your child." 231

Parent Discussion Guide 237

Educator Discussion Guide 249

Resources 257

Acknowledgments 281

Index 283

About the Author 298

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