The Middle School Years

I’ve always said that the middle school years are the lowest of the low and for my son that was definitely the case. In fact, he has recounted his 7th Grade year as the pits! (That’s my word. His word is not appropriate for this blog!) Seriously, things turned south for him at school and for us at home. We tried all sorts of things, therapy for him, therapy for us, meds for him, advise from family and friends for us. We did have some fun vacations, but we always said that our son was a great kid on vacation. We all enjoyed traveling. It always provided a needed break from the pressures of school.

Many New Friends

New friends popped up on the scene. Many new friends. So with the advise from our therapist who specialized in teens, we became friends with their parents. We got to know all the friends, even the ones that weren’t so “great”. Instead of saying “Don’t hang around so and so,” (which might have enticed him to want to be friends with themĀ  even more), it became a scenario of “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em”. Our strategy worked to a degree, but our son seemed unhappier and unhappier. He couldn’t and wouldn’t say why. And at this point, three years later, we still don’t know exactly what caused this unhappiness.

Paintball

We tried going to adventure and action movies with him. We paint-balled with him, at the venue where “moms play free”. I learned more about paintball equipment than anyone should ever know. We took him to his favorite Mexican restaurant to “keep him talking”. Nothing really worked for more than once or twice. Our therapist suggested some outdoor activities with groups of boys and older men, just to dig deeper into his primitive needs. It then became full on “WAR” (our therapist’s word). We were engaged in a battle of wills. And it felt like a raging war. It was a dark time.

Help Us Please, Teachers

I sent emails to all his teachers asking for help. Most responded, one of them actually “got him”. She said that our son learned differently and that he wasn’t lazy. The new century still hadn’t caught up with the learning needs for some kids. All the while, he floundered. We provided a tutor. He stopped going for help towards the end of the school year. We couldn’t make him do much of anything. I might as well put $ down the toilet and flushed. Our son always had special classes for extra help, but those classes made him feel different. Strike one! Not easy for a kid who just wants to fit in and be accepted. And he didn’t participate in sports because he wasn’t as gifted as other kids. Strike two!

Social Media Explosion

The biggest thing that happened during his 7th grade was the explosion of Social Media. I went to the monthly Parent Ed classes at the Middle School. I talked to every parent I could. I joined some of his questionable apps and tried to be a “watch dog mom”. I still had access to his texting and computer communication, but he was quickly locking me out by making new accounts and passwords. The worst part as a parent is when you notice that you are becoming a master detective and your subject is your kid. Let me say right here, it feels terrible. Strike three!