17 Nov Building Social Connections
I am a board member for a non-profit that specializes in vision screenings for children. I try to be as hands-on as possible to see what is working for the organization and what is not. A couple of weeks ago I made a point to attend a school vision screening from start to finish. It was for a large, private school and it encompassed grades K-12. My volunteer position for the day was to line the kids up and send them to open screeners as they became available. As the day progressed and the ages of the kids began to climb, I noticed that the behavior began to digress. I had the most difficult time keeping the middle schoolers in line. As I looked at the rowdy, growing crowd of seventh and eighth graders that lined the bleachers, I really started to fear when the high schoolers would show up.
An odd thing happened. The high schoolers ended up being the best, most well-mannered of the day. While I’m sure this isn’t always the case, it made me wonder why the middle schoolers presented as the rowdiest. Then, it hit me. Middle school is the time when you really begin to figure out who you are going to be as a person. It can be a hard time to navigate on your own. You want to be independent, yet you don’t always know how to be independent in a responsible way.
Riverview Counseling Services offers a range of social groups conducted by licensed clinical social workers and counselors. Lean on Me is a group for middle school girls that fosters connection to others and social support. For middle school boys, the Mandala Group promotes social skill building in a relaxed and fun atmosphere.
If you are currently in the throes of raising a middle schooler and would like to help build their network of support, I encourage you to call Cheryl Denz at 630-587-3777 x103 to learn more. All of Riverview’s social groups are capped at 6 members so you can be assured your child will get the attention they need.
Click on the Our Groups tab to learn more about all the groups offered to help parents deal with each and every stage of a child’s development.
Written by Diana DeVaul, MSW and Parent