Home > School and Learning > Back to School > Transitions > Isolated in Middle School
|

Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

Isolated in Middle School

Middle School Expert Advice from Judith Lee Ladd

Q: We moved a couple of years ago and my seventh-grader is having trouble finding friends. He says some kids are calling him a wimp and teasing him about not making sports teams. This is the first year he has tried out for competitive team sports. He seems very lonely and depressed. Can you offer some ideas?

A: During the middle-school years, students need to feel competent, valued, and connected. Peer groups play an important role in all three. But when our children's peers are not as supportive as we would like, our kids need to seek out other groups. Then the peer group will seem easier to conquer, and less important.

Try to get your son involved in activities for which he has a natural talent, especially service projects in the school or community. Helping others will make him feel good about himself.

How about getting him a "coach," an older boy who does well in your son's chosen sport. This "coach" can mentor your son and bring his skill development up to a more competitive level. Being seen with this student will enhance your son's standing with his peers. Acceptance by a key person can make fitting in so much easier. Best of all, your son will gain confidence and improve at the sport, even if he does not make the team.

Contact the school counselor, teacher, or your physician about your child's depression. If he has become clinically depressed, he will not be able to take advantage of these suggestions -- or anything else you do to help. He will need professional assistance for a short time to physically and emotionally deal effectively with his situation. Continue to be a good listener and someone he trusts.

More on: Expert Advice

Judith Lee Ladd is a former president of the American School Counselor Association, a national organization of K-12 and post-secondary school counselors.


Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

highlights

12 Pumpkin Activities and Crafts for Kids
Pumpkins and gourds are perfect for fall fun and games with the kids. Find the best pumpkin activities, crafts, printables, and recipes to enjoy with your children this Halloween season.

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

15 Best Slow Cooker Meals
Too busy to cook? Try one of these deliciously easy slow cooker meals and have dinner waiting when you get home!

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!