Walden_Listening in the Middle_Large

Listening In the Middle

Author: Adrianna and Ryan Walden
Published Date: Tuesday, August 20, 2019

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.

If you’re the parent of a tween or teen, don’t miss a free showing of Angst, an important documentary presented in partnership with The Williams School. Angst is an IndieFlix Original documentary about anxiety, truth, and hope. This is a free event and open to the public, however registration is required as seating is limited. Appropriate for ages 10 and older.

A panel of CHKD mental health professionals will conduct a question-and-answer discussion following the screening on Tuesday, Sept. 17, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Kaufman Theater at Chrysler Museum in Norfolk. Funding for this screening is generously provided by the Goode Family Foundation.



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About Adrianna and Ryan Walden

Ryan and Adrianna Walden have been married for 12 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. Both have enjoyed teaching CHKD’s "Happiest Baby" class together for the past eight years. Together they have one daughter, who despite early health issues, is now a thriving and happy school-age child. The Walden's also lead a weekly community group through their church for married couples and their children.