Judith Warner – This podcast is about how to help ourselves and our children navigate middle school successfully. Dr. Robyn Silverman interviews Judith Warner, author of “And Then They Stopped Talking to Me,” about middle school friendship, relationships, emotions, frustrations, screen-time and more.
Special guest: Phyllis Fagell, LCPC Middle school is a time of seismic shifts—everything is changing from friendships and relationships to hormones, expectations and not to mention the physical, intellectual, moral, social and emotional growth your child is experiencing in just a short amount of time. Fundamental questions are floating around the heads of adolescents such as “who am I?” “Am I normal?” and “do I fit in?” Middle schoolers are thrust into a changing environment where adult involvement is reduced and their own skills become vital as they figure out exactly what they are going to allow to be their social and personal currency. Skills such as making good friend choices, negotiating conflict, considering other people’s perspectives, cultivating their own passions and recognizing limitations and of course, making responsible, healthy, ethical choices. Yes, there is a lot to this middle school experience that bridges the gap between childhood and teenhood—and thankfully, we don’t need to go it alone.
Phyllis L. Fagell, LCPC, is the author of “Middle School Matters,” the counselor at Sheridan School in Washington, D.C., a psychotherapist at The Chrysalis Group and a frequent contributor to The Washington Post and other national publications. She is also a regular columnist for the Association for Middle Level Education and Kappan magazines, and she consults and speaks throughout the country. Phyllis graduated with honors from Dartmouth College, received a master’s degree in journalism from the Medill School at Northwestern University, and earned her master’s degree in counseling from Johns Hopkins University. She tweets @pfagell and blogs at www.phyllisfagell.com
Ahhh, middle school. The crazy, time of ultimate change between elementary school and high school. Just thinking about it brings up so many memories— not all great, of course, as middle school changes can be confusing and strange as we try to figure out the social scene while trying to understand ourselves. Our brains are growing, our bodies are developing and we are trying to answer questions like “who am I?” What do I like? Is it ok for me to like this while my friends like that? “Do I fit in?” and so much more. And while all of this is happening- we also have to turn our attention to the parents and educators who are not only watching this happen but uniquely involved riding the lines between guiding and letting go, dependence and independence. How, as parents and educators, do we help our middle schoolers navigate these school years that can be filled with angst and bewilderment with humor, grace, success and maybe even a little bit of fun thrown in there?
To answer these questions and more we have Michelle Icard on the show today.