Middle Child - Middle School Syndrome

Updated on February 04, 2008
R.K. asks from Elgin, SC
12 answers

I have 3 wonderful children, but I am affraid that my middle child is falling behind. She use to be a VERY bright student, but since she hit her teens...she seems to care less and less about her grades in school. This is her last year of middle school and she may be failing. I don't know what is happening. I am affraid she feels neglected because she is a middle child and may need more attention then I have been able to give. I am affraid that she has fallen into peer pressure from her friends and has decided that school is not important. I have talked to her until I turn blue in the face, but things still have not changed. I am affraid that it is going to get worse!! I love my daughter and I want the best for her. Does anyone have any suggestions on how I can get thru to her?? I want her to know and realize that I am on her side.

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So What Happened?

I just wanted to thank everyone for their great advice. I think I am going to TRY giving her more one on one time. It's hard finding that time, but it is definately worth it. I love all my children...and only want them to achieve all their hopes and dreams - as I am doing myself right now.

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answers from Charleston on

Another thing that you could look into is whether or not there is an issue with other kids maybe bullying. Kids won't always tell you things like that.

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answers from Spartanburg on

This time is difficult for some children. middle school offers alot and sometimes it to overwhelming to handle. Let her find herself maybe an afterschool program and let her have time to herself to figure herself out but there are many of afterschool programs that offers homework help and that could be her time to find herself also so she not totally alone she will be fine it sounds like your a great mom and all of your children are lucky to have you. she knows that your on her side but maybe she needs to find out some stuff on her own with supervision of course. This time can really be bad but it can also be turned into A great experience and maybe she needs a little mom and me time just the 2 of you that can always help too might help her open up a little more you yourself know your child better than any of us but i hope that i've helped in some way.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Greensboro on

Well, I will be very honest with you. As I am sure you know that school and being a mother is difficult. We as parent want to ensure that our children have the best and are able to strive for the best. However, sometimes we choose to better ourselves at the risk of, how can I say, ahh. . . hurting our children in the long run. Let me clarify. You obviously want to go to school, but your children or child may not be ready for you to do so. Life is difficult as it is and sometimes we want things when we want them, despite the reprocussions. I don't know your children's ages and I don't know the purpose of your schooling. So, I will take myself for an example.

I am 28, with 3 girls, 10-5-4. I went to undergrad for a grueling 5-6 years and didn't complete it until May '05. My oldest is now 10. Since, she was my 1st child I was still learning how to be a mother and I didn't take as much time as I should have with her K-2nd grade years. Of course I made sure her work was done, but she could have become a lot brighter than she is now. I was a FT student and then the last 2 semesters I took 18 credits. It was hard. I worked FT, had an PT job, did school, did an internship, made time to cook dinner, play with the kids and study. I made sure that I picked them all up from daycare by 6pm, cooked dinner, did HW, and then put them to bed. After they were sleep I was up until who knows when just completing my HW for 6 CLASSES.

What Im trying to say is... Sometimes we do what we think is right, but in the long run, we find out that it wasn't enough because we missed something along the way. My daughter is a slow reader. Granted, I know some children are. But, she didn't get a sturdy foundation. Kids crave balance in there life. You may want to continue to spend time with her because even if it seems that she isn't listening, I guarantee she is. Again, I am not sure how old she is, but there is that age were they crave to assert their independence. It's frustrating for parents, but try to determine why she isn't interested in school. Do you think with your increased interest, it may have turned hers off? Or do you think deep down she wants your attention and may feel unconsciously that if she ignores school, you will ignore yours and pay more attention to her.

Kids are funny like that sometimes. Believe me actions speak louder than words. My oldest, always acted up in school. I believe because she wanted my attention. But, I was so wrapped up in my life and simply being a robot to my life choices that I ignored her loud (not silent) calls. Now, she is struggling to keep up and I can only blame myself.

Overall, pray about it. Then re-evaluate your choices and see if there is any way you can try to re-adjust things and see how it works. Tell her oneday that your not going to class because you want to spend time with her. Getting your nails done or whatever and she how she responds. The key is "choices." We must make them, and later we must stand by the ones we made. Hope this advice helps and I hope I don't sound too harsh.

It will be okay Sweetie.


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answers from Greensboro on


the only thing i can tell you is just let her know that you love her. i mean tell her everyday. she does need more of your time though and believe you me i have been there except my middle daughter was in the 3- 4 grade when she went through the same thing. i had to be right beside her while she was on her homework or she wouldnt do it and all it was she wanted mommy time and she needed me to just sit with her while she did her homework. so if you can find some extra time to spend with her you need to.



answers from Charleston on

I am a middle child. I went through the same thing. I was about 14 when I finally just felt so shut off from my sisters who got all the attention and my parents who "thought" they were helping by forcing me to do more things in school. All I really wanted was just more time with them, my mom and dad. They were both working and my dad was in school. The time that we all had at home was taken up by my sisters. The oldest, who had my mom wrapped around her finger and who always had to be the center of attention...and my little sister who could do no wrong becuase she was the baby. I had been the stronger one always growing up and I never really needed that much attention because I learned to take care of myself-but that got old and I felt like I wanted to be just like my sisters. To float. So I let school go. I let myself go and I started to dress sloppy. I remember not even caring. Then my parents worked it out. They realized that I had been outside of the family circle and they pulled me back in by seperately taking me out. We would go to dinners and to the movies and sometimes at night when my dad was studying he would ask me to go into the living room with him and he would let me organize his papers for him. My mom would call my grandparents and she would let me get on the telephone with her even if I didn't say a word, it just felt good to be included (and to be able to do things my sisters could not). Your daughter might be feeling the same feelings. It's hard to be the middle child. I am not trying to whine about it, but it really did make obstacles in my life growing up.

You'll figure it out, in the time being...just do what you are doing. That's paying attention to her and trying to get help by asking people. Maybe it's the whole puberty thing and she just wants someone to talk to. ALONE. Without her other siblings always getting the attention. Just let her talk and listen. And if she doesn't talk about it, give her time. After a while, almost every other middle child I have known, just gets tired and rants. She'll come around.

Best of luck to you all!



answers from Norfolk on

Hi, Congrats on having 3 kids and working and going to school full time. Maybe talking until you are blue in the face won't help as much as listening. There has to be some time in the days (any day) that you two can have a "girls night" and do something together(more likely that she wants)even if it is just going to get a soda at the mall. I think she may need some "mom" time and is just trying to be too big to say she cares. When you get to talking you may find out what exactly the problem is. I did the not talking thing with my mom.I also remember that all of a sudden after elementary school, it wasn't so easy anymore, I actually had to study and do my homework. Could she be having a harder time in school than she lets on?

Good luck
S. G



answers from Greenville on

i can only tell you my experience. my second child did same thing beginning in 6th grade. we finally told him he was on his own he either failed or passed but it was his choice and hed have to live with the consequences. he straightened right up. it was amazing. good luck with yours :)



answers from Wilmington on

I feel your pain. So far my daughter has not succombed to the peer pressure but she is very unhappy because she "does not fit in". All the kids have the latest trends in clothing, latest electronic gadgets. If we had the money (which we don't) I would not be buying clothes and gadgets to keep up with the Jones'. Keep true to your family values. She may resent it now but some time in the future she will have strong values and be thankful for all you did to raise her to the best of your ability. My daughter is told she is "weird", "dress like a girl" (she likes sweatshirts/t-shirts), etc. Her spirit is getting broken and I know you must feel the same heartbreak I feel most days. If more of us moms stuck together and had a "no bullying policy", no peer pressure but a general respect for all in school system-it starts at home by parents like you and me. Sorry I got on my soap box!!! :-)

G. m



answers from Spartanburg on

Hi R.,

Have you spoken with her youth group director? I am a youth minister in Arden, nc and I know that my "kids" in youth are way more likely to tell me something that is bothering them than they are to tell their parents. Also, you could call the guidence councelor at her school.
Lastly, it sounds like you are really busy as a Mom, I am too. I try to follow the advice of Suzanna Wesley-she had 19 children, and I spend 1/2 of a day with each of my 5 children once a week. It is hard but doable. Make a day for the two of you to get a manicure or pedicure. Go to the movies together or better yet, plan a girls night at your house for 5 of her close friends. That way you will get to see who she is hanging with and hear conversations that you would not have heard otherwise.

Most of all-make sure that she is sure of her salvation in Jesus. A lot of the time teens become unsure of things in puberty and they begin to question God in their lives. Make sure that she is getting to youth group and that you are setting a good example for her by attending church with her and your other two kids. They need Jesus and they need you to show them the way!

You all are in my prayers.




answers from Charlotte on

Have you talked with your daughter's teachers? They usually will have very good input and will be able to tell you more about who your daughter is hanging out with and what she is like at school? Do they see a difference and if so, what are the differences they notice? Have you taled with your daughter's school guidance counselor? Ask for his or her input; perhaps your daughter would talk to the guidance counselor. Guidance counselors are not just for "problem" kids and if the counselor is a good one, they may talk together and work out some things.



answers from Norfolk on

My husband talks about when he was in middle school and was failing some classes. His dad went to school with him for a week, following him to all classes. His father told him that he didn't know if the problem was with him or the teachers, but he was going to find out. Needless to say, at the end of the week, my husband begged his dad not to come to school any more, and his grades improved. This could be harsh, but it could also be a way to see what your child's day-to-day life is like and be involved. Just a suggestion. I used to teach middle school and I know how hard it is on everyone. Good luck!



answers from Raleigh on

Hello R.,
The way you are going about this is great, not given up on her. Just keep talking to her. If you have any friends or guideparent to maybe take her out on the town, while the talk to her, that would be outstanding. When my oldest started to act out, I enlisted a friend from my religious group, I asked his guidefather, my father, my exhusband, my mother, and a couple of my friend to spend a little time with him. As a parent children often tune is out;however all these people took turns because they knew he was a good kid just making the wrong choices. Once he realized we were not going away, and his choices effected so many of us, including his younger brother and sister he became more responsible than me. (Great work)

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