Why Popularity Is So Important in Middle School and How to Navigate It 

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I was not popular in my school days. In fact, popular girls were the reason I didn’t enjoy my school days. I didn’t like them, as they made me feel small and insignificant but deep down inside I wanted to be like them. Oh, the irony. This article caught my eye as many of my students talk about popularity, how it effects them and the challenges about it. This read provided some insights for me to be able to address and to help my students to navigate their popularity quests or challenges. Happy reading.

?? What was your “Social Status” in high school?

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Helping Kids Navigate the Popularity Scene 

Through ongoing conversations, caregivers help their kids increase their social awareness and foster skills that support healthy relationships. Here’s how parents can approach these conversations: 

  1. Listen without judgment – Allow your kids to process social dynamics and emotions out loud without jumping in to fix or make judgments. Remember, social dynamics are complex, and you only hear one side of the story. Ask questions, empathize and seek to understand instead of judging your kids or other kids. 
  2. Gently broaden their perspective – Help your kids understand different types of popularity and the qualities of genuine friendships. As kids develop social-emotional skills, navigating peer relationships and social status is filled with ups and downs. Kids are developing skills at different paces, so misunderstandings, change, and mistakes are common. 
  3. Talk about friendship skills – There are a lot of skills that support healthy peer relationships, such as listening, cooperating, emotional regulation, being trustworthy, communicating well, speaking up, maintaining boundaries, conflict resolution, and being respectful. These skills take time and practice to develop. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. And everyone makes mistakes. Continue to talk about these skills positively and recognize when you see your kids and others practicing them. 

Navigating the preteen and teen social scene is no simple task. Kids are trying to figure out who they are, how to be a good friend, and how to choose good friends. Bumps in the road are inevitable. 

[source: Why Popularity Is So Important in Middle School and How to Navigate It

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