The Unique Nature of Middle School Students

What are Middle Schoolers Like?

As children grow, they begin to experience physical, intellectual, and emotional changes. The way they learn, feel, see the world, and relate to other people becomes different from when they were younger. These changes, along with demands from present-day society and peer pressure, create conflicts and tension in the adolescent, which are reflected in their behavior in school and at home.

Young people at this age show a good number of contradictions and conflicts, which is normal. There is no "model" adolescent. All young persons are individuals with strong and weak points and with positive and negative qualities. There are some common characteristics that should be kept in mind in order to understand and help the middle schooler in daily activities at home and at school:

  • Adolescents have high levels of physical and emotional energy, which may contrast with long periods of idleness, generally disapproved of by adults.

  • They take risks, are curious, and love danger and adventure, yet their feelings can be hurt easily. This is the time when they feel immortal, but they worry a lot about what their friends think about them.

  • They want to be independent from their families, and at the same time, they need to be pampered and protected.

  • They withdraw and want a private life, and at the same time, they worry about being accepted by their peers.

  • They demand privileges but avoid responsibilities. At the same time, they are developing an awareness of social problems and the welfare of others.

Adolescents from other cultures sometimes face an additional burden as they develop their identities and try to comply with the requirements of home and school. On one side, they have the values and customs of the home that the family wants to maintain, and on the other, they have to respond to the demands of their peers and teachers, who have a different set of rules.