Stages of Life Development: Middle School

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Benchmarks Middle schoolers face quite a mix of changes as they enter young adulthood. This includes significant bodily changes that trigger other milestones and affect how they process feelings about themselves, others, and the world around them. Five major areas of development will be molded and formed alongside one another as students move away from concrete thinking and begin to create their own worldview. Spiritual Students know biblical stories and basic biblical truths but are beginning to view God, the Bible, and their faith in a more personal context and as sources for answering hard questions. They will face many doubts about who God is, evaluating what they believe while also encountering peers with different beliefs. Social The average social life of a middle schooler likely involves carefully navigating relationships, especially when it comes to interacting with the opposite sex. Exploring new friend groups, bullying, drama, and group dating are a few common experiences. The growing influence of social media plays a significant role, exposing preteens to images, ideas, and information while allowing them to participate in a digital world. Emotional Students are beginning to gain more perspective, compassion, and empathy for their peers, family, and friends. Middle schoolers might be dealing with stressors at home, academic challenges, and a greater self and peer awareness that influence how they feel about themselves. Intellectual Students will likely be challenged by teachers, classes, and overall academic expectations in a middle school setting. Parents might also have higher expectations or assign more responsibilities for preteens at home, such as caring for siblings, doing chores, limiting media use, setting an alarm, and developing general time- management skills. Physical Some of the greatest physical and hormonal changes an individual will experience occur during the teenage years. Physical changes can affect a teenager's comfort in their own skin, clothing, coordination, ability, and overall self-esteem. Middle School • 2 • cph.org • Copyright © 2019 Concordia Publishing House

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