My daughter started middle school three weeks ago and it’s certainly had its ups and downs . . . I knew it would be tricky but I really wasn’t prepared for quite how much it would trigger me. I mean, opening the locker alone was enough to make me hyperventilate.
But something exciting happened out of this whole transition– I had a piece published in The Washington Post yesterday! Here’s an excerpt from my essay, “It’s Possible That Sending Your Child to Middle School is Worse Than Going Yourself”:
When I was an adolescent, my mom used the word “enmeshed” to describe women who had unhealthy relationships with their daughters. They were too entangled, too invested. They had fallen into the trap of “living vicariously through their children.” This was not an ailment to which we had succumbed; we had healthy, appropriate boundaries. While my mother was very much concerned for my well-being and was always there to support me, she was not living vicariously through her children, and the two of us were decidedly not enmeshed.
When my own turn came for raising children, I was determined that I too would maintain such impeccable boundaries.
I sailed through my children’s youngest years without displaying any warning signs. I religiously carved out time for myself despite guilty flares that my independence indicated that I was a selfish mom (slightly less egregious than an enmeshed one). Sure, my oldest daughter and I shared many attributes, and people often called her my “Mini-Me,” but I maintained a firm hold on our separateness.
But as we sat down to choose courses for seventh grade — her first year of middle school — I felt the boundaries begin to slip.
You can read the full article here.
And here’s another terrific article from the WP this week about raising middle schoolers– such great food for thought. I really enjoyed this piece: “To raise independent kids, treat middle school like a dress rehearsal for life”
I would love to hear from you about your own experience with middle school–yours, or your children’s. It’s so important for us to have these conversations!