Middle school is its own important, distinct territory, and yet it’s either written off as an uncomfortable rite of passage or lumped in with other developmental phases. Though the transition from childhood to adolescence can be tough for kids, this time of rapid physical, intellectual, moral, social, and emotional change is a unique opportunity to proactively build character and confidence.
Middle School Matters is an evidence-based common-sense guide that provides tools to help children:
- Manage shifting friendships
- Adjust to heightened academic demands
- Practice honesty, kindness, and empathy
- Deal with bullying, gossip, and social turmoil
- Grow up sexually healthy
- Take risks, regulate emotions, manage disappointment, and build resilience
Fagell helps parents use the middle school years as a low-stakes training ground to teach kids the key skills they’ll need to thrive now and in the future, including making good friend choices, negotiating conflict, regulating their own emotions, be their own advocates, and more. To answer parents’ most common questions and struggles with middle school-aged children, Fagell combines her professional and personal expertise with stories and advice from prominent psychologists, doctors, parents, educators, school professionals, and middle schoolers themselves. Based on her many years working in schools, professional counselor Phyllis Fagell sees these years instead as a critical stage that parents can’t afford to ignore (and though “middle school” includes different grades in various regions, Fagell maintains that the ages make more of a difference than the setting).
“No one captures the magic, delight, struggle, and triumphs to be found in middle school like Phyllis Fagell. She knows middle school inside and out, and her advice is some of the best available for students, parents, and teachers.”
—Jessica Lahey, author of The Gift of Failure
“Middle School Matters shines much-needed light on the fascinating—and fraught—middle school years. With the wisdom of a seasoned counselor and the relatability of a close friend, Phyllis Fagell offers an unflinching, reassuring, and indispensable guide to a pivotal time in parenting.
—Lisa Damour, PhD, author of Under Pressure and Untangled