Parents:
“How can I meet my parents' expectations and do my homework?”

Dear Annie,

I'm beginning middle school and I'm just getting used to it. There is a lot of homework and more teachers. To top it all off my parents are nagging me on things like cleaning up my room or help take care of my brother. I know these things are important, but my school work is too. They say school work comes first, but I rarely have any time to do it. How can I meet my parents expectations, but still get work done?

Overworked

Dear Overworked,

Wow! You've asked a great question. I totally agree with you, middle school is a huge adjustment. All of a sudden you're dealing with a much larger place with so many new kids and different groups to deal with. Maybe the people you were friends with aren't at your school any more or if they are, maybe you're not as close as you once were. So there's the pressure to find new friends and fit it. Then there's 7 or 8 new teachers who each have their own way of teaching and giving assignments. And speaking of assignments, there's all that homework! Yeah, I hear you when you say you're just "getting used to it."

On top of all that you're going through all kinds of physical changes that are going to effect your looks and your mood from moment to moment.

Middle school isn't easy and any adult who says it is has a really poor memory.

On the other hand, your parents (and I happen to be a parent myself so I know what I'm talking about) are going through changes too. They love you and they want you to do well, be responsible, and be happy. They can see that you're growing up and part of that is linked with the realization that you're growing away from them toward adulthood and a life of your own. That can freak them out a little or a lot (depending on who they are and their style of parenting). They may be on your case about cleaning up your room and taking care of your brother as a way to let you know that they're still in charge (and they are). But that doesn't mean that they shouldn't try to understand that you are in the middle of figuring out a lot of stuff.

Here's what I suggest. Call a family meeting. Check out this section of my website for more information on how to do it (it's not a big deal, but it helps if you've got some ground rules).

And also read this article in my Parents Forum on family meetings (or maybe show it to your parents).

I believe that if you talk to your parents calmly and respectfully about feeling pulled in two directions (doing well at school and staying on top of your responsibilities at home) then you can figure out an agreement that will work for you and for them.

It's definitely worth a try, right?

Your thoughts?

In friendship,

Annie

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