School will be starting in about a month. For many families their child will be starting sixth grade. This means their child is entering Middle School. From the families I have worked with it is apparent that many parents are not aware how Middle School has changed. Many parents assume Middle School is just like it was when they went to Middle School in the 80s or 90s.
I hear parents say every day that they don’t need to worry about drugs or alcohol with their child in middle school because their child is too young for that right now. Well the reality is these parents are wrong. Drugs and alcohol are just the tip of the iceberg. Children that are in the age group of middle school are now involved in very adult activities.
To begin with, most campuses are better pharmacies than your pharmacy. I have had middle school kids say they can get Vicodin, Concerta, Ecstasy and of course weed and alcohol on the campus. Some kids use at school and some use after school and on the weekend.
A lot of middle school kids are sexually active, but they don’t think so. They are not engaging in intercourse but they are engaging in oral sex. The kids say they are just messing around with each other and do not consider this sex. They also have no idea about sexually transmitted diseases or how to protect themselves.
Another common issue in middle school is bullying. However, we are not just talking about one kid teasing another kid at school. Often there is a group of kids teasing one kid and it is not just at school. Now kids are using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and texting by phone to tease and harass other kids. And as many of you may recall there have been a number of kids who have committed suicide due to the teasing at school. Also a number of middle school students have been arrested for photos they text and for harassment. Texting a photo of a child in middle school means the middle school child violated child pornography laws.
Also many kids in middle school, especially boys, don’t feel safe and are afraid of someone trying to beat them up before or afraid school. They say they have to fight because other kids are recording it and posting it on YouTube. If they don’t fight the other kids will think they are a “whimp” so they have to fight. Due to this fear many middle school students carry knives, metal pipes or anything they can think of to protect themselves. This is very sad kids have to live fear for their safety.
These are just a few of the issues that are occurring at all middle schools and they are very serious. Your child is not going to come to you to ask about these issues or tell you about them because they feel embarrassed and they are afraid of getting in to trouble. So parents even though you may feel embarrassed or awkward discussing these issues with your 11 year-old child, please do so. If you notice anything about your child’s behavior that seems different to you and you feel a sense of concern, ask your child about what is happening at school and with friends. Mention they are getting older so are there issues regarding drinking, sex or being teased that they need to talk about. You may be saving their lives because they are dealing with things they know nothing about and these things can kill or have life long effects.
Here is a YouTube video that might help:
Dr Michael Rubino is an expert dealing with adolescents and adolescent issues. He has over 18 years experience treating adolescents. For more information about Dr. Michael Rubino’s practice check his web site http://www.rcs-ca.com or his profile on LinkedIn.