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Jan 27, 2020

Somewhere around the age of 11 children begin to change, embarking on what today’s guest calls “The Middle School Construction Project.” As they begin to develop an adult body, an adult brain, and an adult identity, parents may be faced with a new dynamic in engaging with their child that provides a whole new set of challenges.

Today’s guest is Michelle Icard, author of Middle School Makeover and a to-be-released guide for high school parents Fourteen by Fourteen. In this episode we discuss:

  • Why the separation parents feel from their children during this period is actually positive. If our goal is to raise children who can live independently from us, this “defiance” attitude is actually a crucial part of that process.
  • How important this identity exploration is to ensure our children don’t end up in codependent relationships in the future — both personally and professionally.
  • Why the “drama” of middle school is a natural result of children trying to find a way to navigate evolving identities and developing relationships.
  • How important it is as middle school conflicts with peers arise that parents let the child lead in terms of how much involvement for parents to take and why kids need the opportunity to “figure out” the conflict resolution without parental involvement, which the exception of clear bullying where the parent needs to step in.
  • How technology amplifies behavior and gives children more access and why kids need “breaks” from it as a result.

At the end of the interview, we discuss Michelle’s next book, Fourteen by Fourteen — the 14 essential conversation to have with your kid and how to have them. It will cover topics ranging from talking to kids about taking responsibility for their actions to making healthy decisions about their bodies. We also discuss where to find Michelle online, including both her website and her Facebook group — Less Stressed Middle School Parents.

To close the show, I detail my surprised-delight over a Christmas present I received — a hairbrush dryer that I’ve talked all about on Instagram and in the Facebook Group. I give tips and tricks for using it to create the best salon-quality blowout at home.

This Unmillennial Life is available each week via iTunes, NPROne, Libsyn, iHeartRadio, Spotify and Podcasts on Pandora.