Oh, the days of seventh and eighth grade…the phase when nothing you do is cool, everything is fun in a crowd; and one smart kid will remind you, “yeah…I know.”

Here are a few things you’ll start to discover about kids in their seventh and eighth grade years:

You’ll begin to realize how embarrassing you really are.

Figuring out the new rules for your social behavior can be intimidating. When is it acceptable to “like” their Instagram post, and when are you allowed to openly comment? When are you expected to show up to the game, and whose parents are you not supposed to talk to? When are you supposed to dress up and be impressive, and when are you supposed to just be casual?

Insecurity is an unspoken force that keeps this phase wonderfully awkward.

Even the most confident seventh grader may choose a “group” Halloween costume. (“Let’s go together as rock, paper, scissors!”) They walk the hall in pairs. They go to the mall with a herd. They build unfathomably large social media platforms. The name of the game is to never be caught alone and to always associate with the coolest crowd possible.

You may be surprised at how smart they really are.

In fact, there may be no phase quite as smart as this one—just ask them. Being so much smarter than everyone else can really become a burden. Sometimes the patience just runs out, and they simply can’t explain it to you one more time. The important thing will be what they know, and how they begin to personalize it in this phase.

Days with your “kid” are over, because now–as they’ll remind you–they’re teenagers ready to make the world their own. So, look for ways to encourage their process (just remember that it’s their process, and they know it).

This content was contributed by Phase. Discover all the resources available for your middle schooler in the Phase store.

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