Skip to navigation menu Skip to content


Mom talking to tween daughter

Listening In the Middle

Getting my daughter ready to enter middle school, for me, is more nerve-wracking than when she was about to start kindergarten. It's a tricky and awkward time in a child's life. Hormones run rampantly throughout middle school hallways. Emotions wait to be released at every locker.

To say the least, the middle school years have their challenges. As our sweet babies start the process of leaving childhood behind and moving toward the teen years, we, as parents, have our challenges, too.

While teetering between both worlds, middle school-age children seek autonomy yet secretly crave boundaries. They need connection and guidance provided by parents and teachers. They need the freedom to express their own thoughts and feelings.

As a parent of a middle-schooler, I've found several ways to connect with my daughter. The most productive one is this: I listen more than I speak. Tweens want to know that how they feel matters, and that we are not judging them. If I want my voice to be the loudest in her life, I have to be there first by listening to her heart. My goal is to foster trust and connection by providing her with a safe place to go, and a safe person to confide in when the world feels confusing and overwhelming.

While going through these middle years may be tough, keep in mind we're needed now, more than ever.  

Like this post?

Get parenting inspiration and encouragement delivered directly to your inbox by signing up for our once monthly email.

About Adrianna and Ryan Walden

About Adrianna and Ryan  Walden

Ryan and Adrianna Walden have been married for 17 years. The two met when she was working for an arena football team in Norfolk where he was playing football. Ryan is a service coordinator with the Chesapeake Early Intervention Program and Adrianna is a Licensing Specialist for Children's Programs with the Department of Education. Both enjoyed teaching CHKD’s "Happiest Baby" class together for over a decade. Together they have one daughter, who despite early health issues, is now a thriving and happy teen. The Walden's have a passion for working with children and married couples.