Getting Started: Understanding Middle School
Girls want to interact with an adult who can appreciate the things
in their world—the things they do, the things they think about,
and the things they dream. If you are not already around middle
school girls, take time to get to know their world. See a popular
movie or visit a store popular with preteens. Ask girls which
magazines or Web sites they like best and check them out.
While each girl is an individual, some general characteristics
of girls in sixth, seventh, and eighth grades are that they:
- Feel unique,
as if no one else has ever felt the way they do
- Display excellent planning skills, long attention spans, and
total absorption in their passions (though they may discover a
new passion frequently)
- Are extremely concerned with their friends
and peer relationships and put a lot of energy and interest into
them (and may develop self-consciousness in front of peers)
- Are often interested in boys and develop crushes
- Are into "what's hot" and "what's not" in fashion, music, celebrities,
- Are committed to communicating and getting along with parents/guardians
- Feel a lot of pressure about the social scene at school, and
think that adults do not understand how complicated their social
life is—and how much stress it can cause
- Have good communication skills and, with guidance, can present
issues effectively in public forums
- Like to be with and serve people directly—it is their social
- Reviewing this guide will give you confidence!
- Show confidence.
- It is OK not to know everything! You and the girls can explore
- Be enthusiastic—it is contagious!
- Get to know the girls. Inquire about each girl individually.
Know their likes, dislikes, and so on.
- If a girl seems bored, consider asking her to "take the lead"
on an activity.
- Be flexible. If an activity is not working, ask girls themselves
what to change, or what other activity they would like to do.
- Know when to assert yourself.
- Be consistent and fair—treat everyone alike.
- Keep your sense of humor!
Benefits to Girls