5 Truths For Middle Schoolers About Acceptance
By: Brenda Yoder
“If you tell me what I’m doing wrong, I’ll know what to change” she said. She was a sixth-grader doing conflict resolution with girls in my office. I cringed, waiting for the right time to intervene. Luckily, one of the girls spoke up.
“There’s nothing you need to change” her true friend said. “Just be yourself.”
Do you need to hear these truths?
If you belief them, navigating middle school will be easier. Even though you want to fit in, you’ll betray yourself if you change who you are just to be accepted.
Do you feel comfortable around your friends? Can you be yourself around them? Kids need friends who accept them and who they’re comfortable with. Here are things to consider if you struggle with being accepted by friends and peers.
Feeling comfortable with who you are builds confidence that draws others to you. When you’re comfortable with yourself, you’ll draw friends who like you for who you are.
Middle schoolers, rather than changing your interests to please others, find classmates and peers who have similar interests. If your friends don’t share your interests, find kids in your school and community who do! Where can you get connected with friends in your community who have similar interests and hobbies as you?
You don’t have to be friends with everyone to be accepted. Find one or two loyal friends who accept you and share similar interests. Spend time with them outside of school. You can still be a friendly classmate with other kids, but if someone puts you down, you don’t have to hang out with them.
If someone doesn’t accept you as you are, it’s not your problem. Kids who criticize others struggle with insecurity. They put others down to make their confidence bigger. Don’t take their disrespectful behavior personally.
Middle schoolers, if you feel you need to change around your friends, then they aren’t true friends. It’s as simple as that. Friends are people you have fun with and can be yourself around, not ones who make you feel unworthy, awkward, or bad about yourself.
Most likely, friends in middle school aren’t the ones you’ll have as a Senior. If you change your character to be accepted by a group of friends now, you’ll become a different person. You’ll have heartache along the way. Don’t change who you are just to be accepted. Rest in your strengths, personality and interests. Find friends who understand and appreciate you. And see your confidence soar!
Which one of these truths do you need to hear today?
Thanks to Brenda Yoder for this guest post off of Twitter -posted 2/18/14 by Nicole O'Dell!