Do you remember what middle school was like? These memories alone will stir your reserves of compassion for any middle-schooler you are raising. Middle-school is the time when a child begins to develop their independence and their individuality. Unfortunately, individuality can make them stand-out and sometimes, this ends up being to their detriment.
Obviously, from a gender perspective, I can really only speak to what it was like as a girl at this stage in life. It was hard. It seemed the harder I tried to fit in, the more isolated I felt. I didn’t feel comfortable being myself because the unstable social atmosphere of these years made me less confident of speaking up for myself. The other big challenge is that girls seem to hold grudges and they never seem to forget. My observations of most boys were that they would be angry with each other, they would scuffle and then they would move on. Girls just didn’t have that kind of outlet so instead of expressing their upset in a direct manner, they would spread gossip and try to control who would or who wouldn’t talk to you. Frankly, it was exhausting and extremely confusing.
Riverview Counseling Services is here to help sort through the confusion. They offer a friendship skills group for middle school girls on Wednesdays from 4:30-5:30 called Lean on Me. This weekly group helps girls learn to celebrate their differences while fostering acceptance. As the girls connect with each other, they will learn how to be supportive of their peers while also receiving support for whatever they are going through at school. The best part about this group is that to ensure each member gets individualized attention, it is capped at only six members.
All of Riverview’s groups are conducted by licensed social workers and counselors and billable to insurance. To learn more about having your child participate in Lean on Me or other Riverview groups, please contact Cheryl Denz at 630/587-3777 x103.
Written by Diana DeVaul, MSW and parent