4 Ways to Help Your Middle School Student Become More Self-Reliant

Self-reliance fosters healthy independence. As a parent of a middle school student, here are some ways you can help your child mature into their ability to take on new roles and challenges.

Middle School comes with its own set of roles and responsibilities. As your child steps into this stage of their life and education, they are expected to depend less on parent or teacher assistance and are encouraged to develop their own critical thinking skills. As their daily routines and activities evolve, one of the traits that you may want to focus on nurturing is self-reliance.

What Does Self-Reliance Look Like?

student studying

Self-reliance is one’s confidence and ability to take on a task. Whether it’s completing a project, asking to review for an upcoming test, or looking for ideas on their presentation, students who are still in the early stages of developing self-reliance may need your guidance to establish healthy habits, as well as to model good character.

Pre-teens eventually learn to do things by themselves with high-quality assistance, preparing them to perform their tasks independently. Through these four simple strategies, you can foster self-reliance in your middle schooler:

1. Understand that communication is key.

Seeking to understand your child by encouraging open communication sets them up to share their struggles in school and life. They need a space to be vulnerable, honest, and free from judgment — where they can be mentored to find solutions that fit their needs.

At Portsmouth Christian Academy (PCA), students feel comfortable to communicate their personal and academic struggles. Dedicated teachers give students the time to ask questions, clarify expectations, or receive feedback on their work.

2. Give them grace to fail.

It’s easy to assume that failure is harmful for a child. However, giving your middle schooler the grace to fail can be a gift. By allowing them to test their capabilities in a safe environment, you are giving them the chance to improve their knowledge, skills, character, and habits.

PCA provides student with opportunities to learn from failures. We believe that experiences — both negative and positive — are teachable moments. Through athletics, student clubs, and other community projects where students can participate, your child will get to have a myriad of life lessons teaching them strength, character, and dependence on God.

Interested in learning more about a private Christian school that offers a supportive environment for middle schoolers? Take a look at PCA’s viewbook to see an overview of our academic offerings.

3. Help them master self-discipline.

One of the cornerstones of self-reliance is the ability to discipline oneself. You can teach self-reliance by instilling the value of mastering one’s work habits, time management skills, and having a godly response to circumstances.

Give your middle schooler some pointers on how to set goals and manage their time as they face responsibilities — scheduling times for chores at home, teaching effective study habits, and creating a calendar to stay on top of tasks, which all lead to better self-discipline.

PCA recognizes the importance of self-discipline in students. As a private Christian school, we set high but realistic expectations to refine every student’s level of conscientiousness. By offering faith-based education, our middle school program instills self-awareness in improving one’s character.

4. Allow them to see the consequences of their actions.

Every decision leads to consequences. Teaching self-reliance beyond talking about it means letting your child learn through the actions-have-consequences loop.

Allowing your middle schooler to experience the consequences of their actions gives them opportunities to improve or correct themselves. It is one thing to remind and support them, but letting your child make ultimate, age-appropriate decisions contributes to the building blocks of self-reliance.

PCA recognizes each student’s need to learn from experience. Through principles of developing Christ-likeness, we shape our students by letting them make decisions supported by biblical wisdom. Our middle school curriculum has Bible studies, homeroom activities, and chapel reflections that challenge students to solve problems as they navigate school requirements while balancing other life responsibilities.

Looking for a private middle school in Dover, NH? See what Portsmouth Christian Academy has to offer. Download our viewbook to learn about opportunities at PCA or reach out to us at admissions@pcaschool.org.