How to be mature in middle school

As a kids’ author of a lovely girl who has given her two darling grandchildren, she learned neat life lessons she desires to share with you!

How to be mature in middle school

A mature middle school kid is honest, respects elders and is studious.

Vanessa Craan Artist

Okay, you’re not quite a teenager yet, however, you’re in middle school growing faster than your shoes. You’re learning all sorts of interesting tidbits that are probably making your mind spin in every direction, right! A good number of your friends, perhaps, are acting immature, and you surely don’t want to act childish like they do, because you’re moving on to bigger and better things!

There’s a Time to Act Silly.

You don’t want to act too silly and not adhere to your responsibilities. This is when your parents would scold you for ridiculous behavior! So what do you do, do you throw in the towel and naively join your peers because you think they are funny or do you separate yourself from your friends. Of course, not!

You can have the best of both worlds! You can act mature and serious most of the time, and relaxed and funny when you feel like it as long as you can discern right from wrong. Acting funny doesn’t mean you’re immature or naïve because it’s okay to act silly as long as you are in control of your emotions and are aware of the consequences of your actions!

There’s a Time to Be Studious and Get Excellent Grades.

Being studious is the most important thing in middle school! You must get good grades, so, is understanding and actually doing what you’re required to do, such as homework, chores, being polite and tidy.

Forever doing your class work is another huge thing! By getting acceptable grades your friends will automatically think you’re more mature. Your teachers also will take a liking towards you, when you are the one who understands and aces your lessons with flying colors.

Ignore Childish Acquaintances and Develop a Great Stance.

If you have school friends who scorn you or make fun of you and think you’re innocent, it’s because they’re not a good influence. They’re probably trying to get you to do something you are not accustomed to doing, or worse yet, have you break a rule of conduct in school. These kids are your acquaintances, and not people to hang with since they will pressure you to do things you’re not comfortable doing.

You will automatically be more grown than your friends when you think before you act and also think before speaking recklessly. If you are doing well in your course subjects you will definitely be deemed more grown-up, since the knowledge, you are gaining in school will force you to think in mature ways. Your peers will also think more highly of you, since they may come to you for advice!

Mature Kids Understand and Listen to Older People.

Mature kids always listen to their elders and teachers, and habitually do what they must, to please their parents. You must take the initiative at times! Be responsible for certain key things, like doing your chores, homework, and setting a good example for your younger siblings, classmates, cousins, and friends.

Alternatively, perhaps you could be truly childish in your thinking, and desire to become a bit more in your prime. This will take a modest amount of work on your part. You’ll need to change your way of thinking and amateur thought pattern. You will need to exercise more common sense skills! Under no circumstance should you allow your peers to take you for a ride down an unfamiliar avenue, or uncharted lanes?

Mature Children Are Not Carried Away By Their Actions.

You must learn to discern the circumstances by thinking about them thoroughly, and not allow yourself be carried away by your actions. This also goes for on the spot thinking! The easiest way to accomplish this is again to think before you act, at all times, so you don’t inadvertently hurt someone’s feelings, or inferior yet get into serious trouble.

Your parents are a great asset to helping you become more mature. All you need to do is truthfully confide in and trust their judgment. They will lovingly speak to you in ardent tones, and help you to see the light of conditions involving your friends and peers and the hip things happening at school and in your life.

My daughter often gives me an update on the social goings-on in her class. Last week she said, “Did I tell you that Allie broke up with Carter Smith?” She went on to say, “They’d been dating for like six months, but she said she didn’t want a boyfriend right now. So she’s not going to date anyone else for a while.”

The kicker? Everyone in this story is eleven. Eleven, people. Eleven and trying to figure out the dynamics of a months-long exclusive relationship and using words like “dating” to describe them. It leaves me speechless, to be honest.

The middle school years are a time of major transition for kids as nature forces them along the path toward adulthood. It’s not like we, as parents, can prevent their sudden interest in the opposite sex because, well–hormones and whatnot. But allowing that new interest to move quickly into a serious romantic attachment with a peer has its pitfalls. At this tender age, your child barely knows who she is and lacks the judgment to make good decisions about such a relationship. Before you allow or celebrate your middle-schooler’s boyfriend or girlfriend, consider these pros and cons of middle school romance.

Finding out that a boy likes you makes you feel pretty and popular boosting your preteen self-esteem.

Finding out 11.4 days later that he is “so over you” destroys your self-esteem, affirming all of your middle-schooler suspicions that you are unattractive, awkward, and that no one really likes you.

For every upside to middle school romance, there’s a pretty harsh downside. Rejection is hard at any age but especially so at a stage when you feel physically, emotionally, and socially vulnerable.

Spending time with a boyfriend or girlfriend is fun.

Spending lots of time with a boyfriend or girlfriend takes you away from your friends.

At this age, kids need good friends. But middle schoolers who have girlfriends or boyfriends miss out on great platonic relationships. Sometimes they break up with a romantic attachment to find that while they were all dreamy-eyed and in love, their other friendships cooled for lack of attention, leaving them “lost” in the social landscape.

Having a girlfriend makes you feel older and cooler.

Feeling older and more mature than you really are can lead to choices and responsibilities you’re not ready for.

Middle schoolers are naturally interested in sex and all things related, because their bodies are in hormonal overdrive. Having lots of one-on-one time with a romantic interest can open the door to experimentation neither kid is really ready for. Even worse, it seems that the earlier physical relationships start for a teen, the more progressed they are by the high school years. Why let the genie out of the bottle any earlier than necessary?

Being known as “Steven’s Girlfriend” gives a 12-year-old girl a sense of identity and a place in the crowd.

Thinking of yourself in the context of who you are in a relationship before you know who you are by yourself is dangerous.

We all knew that girl or guy in high school who’d always had a girlfriend or boyfriend…until they didn’t. And when they suddenly didn’t, they had no idea how to just be. They were constantly scrambling to get back together with the old flame or rushing head-first into yet another romantic relationship. It goes without saying that this is a dangerous mindset, and can lead to a lifetime of jumping quickly (or staying too long) in relationships that aren’t healthy. Give your child a chance to become more comfortable and mature in his or her own skin, without the need to be identified in any other way.

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How to be mature in middle schoolPhoto by Jérémie Crémer

Maturity and responsibility are not measured by age – they are built by experience. It is not when we start speaking big things, but rather when we start understanding small things. You may not be able to control the situation, but you can always control your attitude, and how you deal with it, that’s when maturity and being responsible occur.

Being mature and responsible may be tough, but you will see how much better you’ll feel about yourself in no time with a little effort and motivation. Remember that if you want to be mature and wise, you must first have to be young and stupid.

Life does not prepare you for the responsibility that comes along with being an adult. Well, who would be ready to plunge into the adulthood stage where you have to pay your own bills, fire up another workday, or drink some coffee and pretend that you know what you are doing.

You might feel that fear while entering adulthood, but that is normal. The pressure is indeed real, yet you must learn how to face it because that is part of life.

You might have friends who have been nagging you to act more maturely and responsibly, but you still don’t know how. Worry no more because I will give you tips and advice on how to be more mature and responsible.

1. Set your goals.

If you want to be more mature and responsible, you have to make it a clear and realistic goal. Rather than seeking satisfaction in fantasy, strive, and compete for your objectives. Invest your energy in setting your goals and activities that extend beyond one’s self-interest.

2. Be persistent.

Aside from setting your goals, one thing that you need to do to achieve maturity is to have perseverance. Achieving your goals in life or getting results from what you’ve worked hard for takes time and process. Just keep on trying and be a persevering person. Never give up halfway, and always remember your goal.

3. Listen more and talk less.

Most people tend to treat conversation like a competitive sport, but actually, this approach is definitely opposite to the one you should take. Do you know that the person who talks less benefits the most, and the person who talks most benefits least? Listening is also a sign of maturity because when you listen, you understand things. Be a giver rather than a talker.

4. Have self-control.

If you want to have more maturity and responsibility, learn how to control yourself. Manage your thoughts, emotions, and temper. Be careful to evaluate and analyze your actions and behavior. It may be a great challenge, but if you learn from it, you can master anything. Thus, never let your emotions overpower your intelligence.

5. Respect other people’s opinions.

People have different perceptions of life. Hence, respecting others’ beliefs, points of view, or way of life without any judgment is a sign of maturity to understand things in life. Even if you disagree with someone’s opinion, learn to respect it, and make it a point to never argue about it.

6. Develop acceptance.

Letting go of everything that’s bothering you or all the negative thoughts you have in mind doesn’t mean giving up, but accepting that there are things that cannot be. Just accept the unchangeable and remove yourself from the unacceptable. So if you want to be more mature and responsible, recognize what you cannot have and be contented with what you have.

7. Be optimistic.

If you view life on a positive side, it will help you get stronger in whatever circumstances you’re facing right now. Maturity and optimistic come on the same line, if you continue to entertain those negative vibes, immaturity will come along. Be responsible and mature enough to think that everything has a purpose. Never let yourself be caged by your own nemesis. It is always healthier to have positive thoughts rather than the opposite of it.

8. Be open-minded.

There may be things that aren’t always what you want them to be, just stay open-minded and look at the bigger picture. An open-minded person is one who admits being wrong – one who thinks and opens his mind before opening his mouth.

9. Build self-confidence.

Never underestimate your strength. Accept and love yourself, not needing someone else to complete you. Help yourself without expecting other people to do it for you. The best way to gain your self-confidence is by doing what you are afraid of.

10. Be contented; stop complaining.

Instead of complaining about what you don’t have, be contented and just learn how to be thankful for everything that you have. A wise man knows how to be contented because he knows happiness comes from contentment.

11. Avoid criticisms and being envious.

It is indeed important to seek objective criticisms. If you are mature and responsible enough, refrain from reacting to feedback from other people because this is only a sign of a childish response. Instead, find joy in others’ success rather than criticize and pull them down just to satisfy envy and bitterness.

12. Make sacrifices.

Another sign of maturity and being responsible is when you can make sacrifices for others’ good without any resentment. Step out of your comfort zone and make sacrifices wholeheartedly as long as you can because it is part of life, not something to regret but something to aspire of.

13. Never blame others for your rejections or failures in life.

Many people are unaware that they are responsible for the circumstances they face in life. Instead of taking their own responsibility, they look for others to blame for their mistakes, rejections, and failures in life. But in reality, you create your own problem, so you should be responsible enough to handle it. Moreover, it is not also right to punish yourself when things go wrong. With the right attitude, you can simply learn from your mistakes and accept the fact that you will really fail. However, failures only teach you how to be strong in life.

14. Do good deeds

Learn how to share good fortune with others. Selfishness is only a sign of immaturity. Doing good deeds is indeed a man’s most glorious task that will show his maturity and sense of responsibility to handle different situations. If you do good, good will come to you as well.

15. Cope with the fear of death.

We all know that everyone will face death in the future, and many people are probably afraid to face this reality. Maturity is when you’re able to accept the fact that death is part of life. Just focus your attention on living in the present rather than imagining the future. Living in the adulthood stage involves remaining vulnerable to both sadness and joy innate in the human condition.

There you have it! Those are just some tips on how to become mature and responsible in life. Remember that “immature people always want to win an argument, but mature people understand that it’s always better to lose an argument and win a relationship.” Maturity starts when all your drama in life ends.

Developing emotional maturity in a middle schooler may seem like an oxymoron. To say the middle school years are challenging for parents and children alike is an understatement. But despite how they might act, your child needs you more than ever before at this stage. Middle schoolers need careful nurturing and guidance to thrive during these difficult years. Believe it or not, you can have an emotionally mature middle schooler! Here’s how to get started:

Help them identify their feelings and their sources

Middle school is a time of big feelings and a lot of them. But it can be difficult for preteens to actually identify what they are feeling, and what caused them to feel that way. Parents can guide their children through these storms by talking through big feelings as they’re happening or even after the fact.

Ensure your child that feelings, even overwhelming ones, are never wrong. It’s what we do with those feelings that count.

So next time your 12-year-old is grumpy and furious for what seems like no reason to you, talk her through it. You might learn that her feelings were hurt by a friend at school that morning and she doesn’t know how to process it. Help your child identify anger, sadness, and frustration, and then dig deeper to find out where each feeling came from.

Teach them healthy coping mechanisms

Not unlike toddlers, middle schoolers can lack impulse-control. It’s not their fault; developmentally, their brains are still working on it. Big feelings can lead to big, and perhaps even destructive, reactions. Middle schoolers need guidance to channel their feelings into healthy coping mechanisms. Help your middle schooler talk about their feelings. Encourage exercise to help process big emotions. Teach them how engaging in creative activities like drawing, dance, or music can get feelings out in a productive way.

Developing emotional maturity requires an outward focus

Most middle schoolers are naturally self-centered. Though aren’t we all, without some solid home training? Focus on helping your child develop empathy and concern for others. Get them engaged in community service. Keep them connected to both local and world news so that they may develop a global perspective. Help them turn their focus outward. This will give them both perspective and empathy.

Developing emotional maturity in a middle schooler may seem like an oxymoron. To say the middle school years are challenging for parents and children alike is an understatement. But despite how they might act, your child needs you more than ever before at this stage. Middle schoolers need careful nurturing and guidance to thrive during these difficult years. Believe it or not, you can have an emotionally mature middle schooler! Here’s how to get started:

Help them identify their feelings and their sources

Middle school is a time of big feelings and a lot of them. But it can be difficult for preteens to actually identify what they are feeling, and what caused them to feel that way. Parents can guide their children through these storms by talking through big feelings as they’re happening or even after the fact.

Ensure your child that feelings, even overwhelming ones, are never wrong. It’s what we do with those feelings that count.

So next time your 12-year-old is grumpy and furious for what seems like no reason to you, talk her through it. You might learn that her feelings were hurt by a friend at school that morning and she doesn’t know how to process it. Help your child identify anger, sadness, and frustration, and then dig deeper to find out where each feeling came from.

Teach them healthy coping mechanisms

Not unlike toddlers, middle schoolers can lack impulse-control. It’s not their fault; developmentally, their brains are still working on it. Big feelings can lead to big, and perhaps even destructive, reactions. Middle schoolers need guidance to channel their feelings into healthy coping mechanisms. Help your middle schooler talk about their feelings. Encourage exercise to help process big emotions. Teach them how engaging in creative activities like drawing, dance, or music can get feelings out in a productive way.

Developing emotional maturity requires an outward focus

Most middle schoolers are naturally self-centered. Though aren’t we all, without some solid home training? Focus on helping your child develop empathy and concern for others. Get them engaged in community service. Keep them connected to both local and world news so that they may develop a global perspective. Help them turn their focus outward. This will give them both perspective and empathy.

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Coaching Social Maturity In Middle School

A parent writes, “Our middle school daughter seems out of step with her peer group. In the company of peers she will sabotage her efforts by acting immature or offering comments that don’t make sense. My husband and I think she is clueless and too hungry for attention. Any ideas on what we can do to help her become more socially mature?”
One of the most worrisome aspects of parenting is when our child has trouble navigating a comfortable place among peers. Due to wide developmental discrepancies in early adolescence middle school presents a melting pot of maturity levels. Many kids embrace the entrance into the fascinating cultural and social world that sets them apart from adults but part of teenage life. Those chronological peers that remind them of their earlier immature selves are likely to be ridiculed and/or rejected. Thus, the child who emotionally lags behind is placed in a puzzling position; how to fit into a social network with implicit rules and expectations that others understand and they don’t?
To varying degrees, most of us remember the sting of peer rejection from our own childhoods, and the hurt and confusion it produced. This may make it hard for us to use objectivity in responding to the child who can’t find a place within the middle school maze. While many factors contribute to the problem, immaturity can be addressed and upgraded if parents come prepared with tact, sensitivity, and solid coaching advice. Here are some tips to get you started:
џ Don’t be afraid to gently use the words ” social immaturity” when describing the behavior. Peers may have already used far worse words such as “annoying, pathetic, obnoxious, or weird” so this label provides a way for your child to begin to understand what others are referring to. It also embodies a sense that these problems are time-limited, and that with help and determination these troubles can fade. Explain that social maturity is measured by how well a person fits into the actions and expectations of their peer group. Being socially immature, just like being short for their age, is not their fault. But unlike height, they can work on learning how to catch up.
џ Test their capacity for observation and social learning. Once you’ve succeeded in establishing a safe dialogue see how much they recognize their immaturity. Try not to sound critical. Provide examples that you recall and praise them for their willingness to self-reflect. Review their encounters with peers and offer them ways to feel a greater sense of belonging. By becoming a better social observer and paying careful attention to more mature peers they can figure out how to move their maturity forward. Point out the advantages of being a good listener and the importance of not abruptly changing subjects. Stress how compliments, following up on details they have been told before, and thinking about what they should say before they say it are good rules of thumb. Emphasize how silly clowning often backfires.
џ Explain that certain “immaturity themes” are repeated in various situations. Now is the time to speak to them about “attention-seeking missions”, the “never feeling satisfied syndrome,” or some similar behavior theme that often pops out and makes peers shake their heads with disdain. Delineate the subtle and not-so-subtle ways these themes emerge, and challenge their view that peers don’t notice these behaviors. Explain that kids their age not only notice them, they catalogue them, and spread news about such behaviors far and wide! Point out that the more these behaviors come out at home the more they are likely to at school or other times when peers are around.
џ Offer concrete ways for them to learn how to become more socially mature. Offer the pointers above but try to line up a respected older sibling or cousin, if available. If not, perhaps a guidance counselor can lend a hand. Even television programs may offer a forum to discuss behaviors and attitudes considered socially mature at their age. Emphasize that preparing themselves ahead of time to be with peers, and reviewing their past successes and failures, is a good habit to establish.

Making friends in middle school can be stressful and tricky. If your child struggles with social skills, it may be even more challenging. Here are some ways to help your child connect with other kids.

1. Go over social rules and cues.

Some middle-schoolers with learning and thinking differences have more trouble with social skills than other tweens. Talk with your child about social cues and social rules—but don’t just do it in the aftermath of a social blunder. Discuss basic social skills when things are calm and going well, too.

It can also be effective to discretely point out social cues when you see others using (or missing) them. For example: “Do you see how Mr. Jones backed away when Zach talked to him? That’s because Zach was standing too close.”

2. Remind her there are different types of friends.

Not everybody can be a friend for all situations—and that’s OK. Talk that through with your tween. For instance, some kids aren’t good at keeping secrets, but they’re lots of fun. Some are easy to talk to about feelings, but don’t share the same interests. Some are great to work with on projects with but not so great to hang out with.

Let your child know just because someone isn’t “best friend” material, that doesn’t mean she can’t be a friend. It just means there are limitations to that particular friendship.

3. Understand what your child wants and needs.

Some kids don’t need a bunch of friends. Managing the drama of multiple friends is sometimes too much. Check in with your child. Ask, “What are you looking to get out of a new friendship? What kinds of things do you picture doing with a friend?”

Keep in mind that your child’s friendship needs might not match yours. And they may change over time, too. So keep checking in.

4. Keep talking about what’s important in a friend.

Explore what your tween thinks makes a good friend. It may actually help her understand how she views friendship. Try to listen and not project your own ideas. Ask open-ended questions like, “What do you think makes someone a good friend? Why?”

Exploring what your child has to offer as a friend can also help. Ask her to consider what qualities or things make her a good friend to have.

5. Help her recognize possible friends.

Your child may not recognize the kid who could be a friend. Talk about who she likes to spend time with, either at school or outside of it. Point out who she talks about in positive ways.

Sometimes kids aim to be friends with kids who have very different values. Guide your child by helping her voice values that are not negotiable to her. Ask things like: Do you want a dependable friend who shows up on time? Is honesty very important to you, or having a friend you can confide in?

6. Explore new ways she can start friendships.

Joining afterschool activities is a good way for tweens to meet kids with common interests. Once your child feels confident with kids in that group, she may want to hang out one-on-one.

Help her come up with things to say like, “You do great accents in drama club. Let’s hang out sometime and maybe you can teach me.” She could also invite a friend to come with her to an activity. “Are you going to the food drive on Saturday? Want us to pick you up on the way?”

7. Talk about behaviors that can damage a friendship.

Kids with learning and thinking differences may wear out a friendship because they want so badly for it to work. Kids with ADHD can overwhelm friends by talking nonstop or interrupting.

Be frank with your child about what she needs to know to avoid hurting a friendship. For instance: Friends need space and can’t always be together. They may each have other friends they want to see sometimes. You and your friend both need a chance to talk about your feelings and what’s important to you. And friends can disagree without hurting each other.

8. Keep your eyes and ears open.

When kids are this age, keeping on top of the help they need in making friends can be tough. Volunteer to drive carpools or host a small group of kids for a movie marathon. Or volunteer at school to see what’s happening in that environment. You’ll get a chance to observe and listen to not only their words, but to their emotions as well.

Let your child know she can talk to you—and you will listen without being judgmental. That indirect route of being a sounding board helps keep the lines of communication open.

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About the Author

About the Author

Amanda Morin worked as a classroom teacher and as an early intervention specialist for 10 years. She is the author of The Everything Parent’s Guide to Special Education. Two of her children have learning differences.

Reviewed by

Reviewed by

Mark J. Griffin, PhD was the founding headmaster of Eagle Hill School, a school for children with specific learning disabilities.

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When my girls were in the 2nd grade, they came home one day and told me boys in their class had said some “bad words”. I had been anticipating this moment for a while and was ready to explain to them some of the words they had heard.

“What did they say?” I asked.

They called someone STUPID!” They replied.

OK… I thought. Maybe I’ve been too overprotective. Other children in their school were surely using actual four-letter words. I didn’t want my girls to grow up too fast, but I worried they might look foolish if I sheltered them too much. “If they think stupid is a bad word,” I wondered, “What would happen if one of them actually gets called a cuss word? Will other kids laugh at them for being so naive?”

Thus began my daughter’s education in “inappropriate language”. That day, I explained the difference between a cuss word and a put down. “Both are not nice,” I explained, “but cuss words are types of words that are considered really offensive and can get you (and even grown-ups) in trouble, depending on where and how you use them.”

Flash forward to middle school

Now that my girls are in middle school, I hear cuss words abound. As an educator, I understand that in some sense, cussing is a rite of passage.

In the 4th and 5th grades, I heard the boys were ramping up cussing on the playground. This made sense because using “adult language” is a guaranteed way for tweens to signify they aren’t “little” anymore. For middle schoolers, cussing becomes a way to individuate from adults, to push boundaries and test limits. Thus, I wasn’t surprised to hear the girls report they were hearing more and more cussing when they entered middle school.

So, we get that it’s “normal” for tweens/teens to want to cuss. That said, adolescence is a time when kids are testing out what it means to be an adult. Learning what happens when you make “good” vs. “bad” choices. Just because adults can cuss whenever they want, dropping the f-bomb one too many times at work may cost you a promotion. (Unless, that is, you work in the Hip-Hop music industry. Then by all means. Use it liberally.)

It’s not the words themselves, but they way they’re used

The point I’m trying to make is that cussing isn’t necessarily a problem in and of itself. In fact, there may be perfectly “appropriate” times to cuss. (When you bang your thumb with a hammer for example.) The issue I’m interested in discussing is how and where is cussing used. Are adults talking with tweens/teens about the ways they use language? What is the impact of this language on the ways people view them? How does cussing contribute to or detract from a positive learning environment?

Just as we wouldn’t expect toddlers not to bite other toddlers from time to time, we can’t expect tweens/teens not to try our cussing. This is precisely the reason we should be talking with teens about it. Rather than assuming it’s going to happen and not address it.

So, I decided to talk to my daughter…

I didn’t push this conversation on my kids, mind you. After hearing about the rampant cussing at my girls’ school, my girls brought the topic up with me.

It first started when one of my girls was called a b*tch in the counselor’s office and it wasn’t addressed. Another daughter said she was bothered to hear the word f*ggot all the time. (She knows it’s a derogatory word like the n-word, and doesn’t like being around homophobic language.) I myself have heard kids yell “c*nt” across the yard and have seen staff ignore it. Even when cussing hasn’t been directed at them, these experiences have contributed to my girls feeling unsafe on the yard and in the hallways. And it has affected their feelings about their new school.

Let’s Talk about Cussing

After several frustrating attempts to get the school administration to deal with our school cussing problem, me and one of my daughters decided to do a video interview. I asked her, “What’s your experience with cussing and “inappropriate language” at your school? How do school staff handle cussing and derogatory language?” Here’s what she had to say…

[I’ve since had to remove this content from YouTube because my daughter says she was teased to speaking about this on my blog.

Basically, she states she doesn’t like all the cussing at Middle School. I ask if it’s directed at her. She says no, but it makes the school feel unsafe. We discuss the difference between using cuss words like the f-word to express extreme emotion, vs. directing it at someone. Either way, we conclude it is something that should be discussed and addressed by educators. Unfortunately, this wasn’t something my daughters were experiencing from site leadership at the time.]

How to be mature in middle school

What message are we sending?

Some adults may see cussing as a right of passage and write it off as an unfortunate developmental phase. These folks may argue we shouldn’t make such a big deal about it. Focusing on it might only make it worse.

Our job is to support kids in becoming successful adults and community members. What message are we sending them when we see them using cuss words and derogatory terms with regularity in spaces that we’ve designated for “higher learning”? High functioning students don’t use f-bombs in their dissertations at Harvard. And customer service rep’s know when to turn off the four-letter-words when they are at work. In fact, many people could get fired (or even sued!) for using these types of words often. So, why are we OK with kids using them in schools?

And on a really basic level, cussing and verbal “play fighting” can lead to some very real fights. One only needs to look at Trump to see how his rhetoric has amplified hate speech and hate crimes across the nation. According to a recent study by the Southern Poverty Law Center much of this, unfortunately is occurring in K-12 schools.