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Making & keeping friends

At a Glance: 4 Common Social Challenges for Middle-Schoolers

By Lexi Walters Wright

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Feeling accepted is key in middle school. But if your child lacks certain social skills, she may have problems making friends. Learn how social challenges can affect your middle-schooler’s feelings.

37Found this helpful
Social Challenges: How They Affect Feelings in Middle School
Do you ever wonder what your middle-schooler’s going through? These scenarios might give you an idea of how social challenges can feel for your child. Understanding what she’s experiencing is a good first step to helping her improve social skills.
1. Managing Emotions
What it might look like: Your child’s science partner scored better than she did on a quiz. When she notices the partner’s grade, she shouts, “That’s not fair!”
How it may feel: Your child may feel embarrassed by her outburst and startled by the strength of her feelings.
2. Maintaining a Friend Group
What it might look like: Your child is never sure she’s going to be included when her chorus friends get together on weekends. She knows something sets her apart, but she doesn’t understand what it is.
How it may feel: Your child may feel insecure of her place within their clique and sad about being left out.
3. Seeing Another Person's Perspective
What it might look like: Your child sees a classmate crying at her locker. When the classmate says her dog just died, your child says, “Oh, well, you can just get a new one.”
How it may feel: Your child may feel confused by her classmate’s emotions and unsure of what she’s supposed to say.
4. Handling Group Pressure
What it might look like: Two friends ask your child to study with them before school twice a week. Planning ahead is tough for her, and she shows up late each time.
How it may feel: Your child may feel anxious about disappointing her friends and worried they’ll stop hanging out with her. She may even want to quit the group as a result.
Graphic of Social Challenges: How they affect feelings in Middle School
Graphic of Social Challenges: How they affect feelings in Middle School

About the Author

Portrait of Lexi Walters Wright

Lexi Walters Wright

A veteran writer and editor for parenting magazines and websites, Lexi Walters Wright has a master’s degree in library and information science and is proud to serve families at Understood.org.

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Reviewed by Bob Cunningham, M.A., Ed.M. Feb 12, 2014 Feb 12, 2014

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