Helping Your Middle School Child Gain Self-Control

I  wanted to share with everyone a website I stumbled upon recently when I was doing some personal research on helping my son navigate this whole new world of middle school. He has been experiencing some minor hiccups with adjusting, rather small which I am very thankful for. However, this could be the calm before the storm so I am trying to brush up on some ways to help him with his own self control.

The website is : . Since stumbling on this site, I find myself starting my day by reading as many articles as I can before having to do other work. Here is a breakdown of their mission:

Young boy walking his dog outdoors

At a Glance

  • Many middle-schoolers act without thinking from time to time. But kids with learning and attention issues may have more trouble than most.
  • Set expectations, talk about feelings and model self-control.
  • Encouraging cool-downs and recognizing your child’s attempts at good behavior can also help.

Many middle school kids act without thinking at times. It just comes with the territory at that age. But if your child has learning and attention issues that cause trouble with self-control, it could be more than just a passing phase.

Self-control issues can have far-reaching impact. Your child may struggle to manage his emotions, actions and impulses in many areas of his life. That includes at school, at home, in the community and with peers.

“If your child sees the adults in his life showing self-control, he’s more likely to do it himself.”

But it can get better. Kids can learn techniques and strategies to manage their behavior and emotions. Here’s how to help your middle school child gain self-control and be more successful socially.

Set the scene.

Some tweens and teens react badly because they don’t know what to expect in certain situations. Or, just as important, they might not be sure what’s expected of them.

Fill your child in ahead of time if he needs to wait for something, or if you need him to do a difficult task. You can say something like: “This Saturday I’d like you to help us clean out the garage. This should take until about noon. But after that you can go hang out with friends.”

Name their feelings.

Having the words to explain their emotional outbursts can help kids be more in control. It can also help them recognize feelings before they act on them. Gently point out your child’s behavior, and the emotion behind it:

  • “I’ve heard a lot of doors slamming today. Can I ask why?” (Focusing on what yousee or hear, rather than what your child did or said—for example, “Why are you slamming doors?”—can make the situation feel less like a blame game.)
  • “I’m seeing lots of sad expressions today. I’m wondering if it has anything to do with the test scores. Do you want to talk about it?”

Model self-control.

This can take real commitment on your part. But if your child sees the adults in his life showing self-control, he’s more likely to do it himself.

If you get a parking ticket, count to 10 until the impulse to lose your temper passes. Can’t find your wallet and now you’re late taking the kids to school and going to work? Take a breath and ask out loud where was the last place you had it. You’re not only modeling problem solving. You’re also staying in control!

Provide cool-downs.

Encourage your child to take a break when he seems to be losing control. If he’s building into a rage over difficult homework or chores and begins yelling at you, try not to yell back.

Instead, suggest he step away from it until he’s had time to cool down. (An angry child hears no one. You’ll also be modeling for him how to show patience.) Walking around the block, having a snack or playing a video game may be enough for him to calm down.

Breaking complicated tasks into smaller pieces also can help your child. For a writing assignment, you might suggest that he do some brainstorming and jot down ideas. Then he can take a break before beginning the drafting process.

Reinforce the positive.

When you see your child showing self-control, let him know. A simple statement can motivate him to continue the good behavior. For example, if he practices the piano even though he wanted to hang out with friends, you can say:

“I know you wanted to get together with your friends. You should be really proud you finished practicing and figured out a way to see them tomorrow.”

Telling your middle-schooler you appreciate his efforts not only gives a confidence boost. It shows your child that you respect him—something tweens often crave from their parents.

There are other ways to help, too. Our expert advice on behavior issues can provide useful tips. Explore the best ways to praise your child and build his self-esteem. The better your middle school child feels about himself, the more likely he is to keep working on gaining self-control.

Key Takeaways

  • Problems with self-control are common in middle school. Your child’s learning and attention issues might make controlling impulses even harder.
  • You can improve your tween or teen’s self-control by talking through your expectations for him and helping him identify his feelings.
  • Encourage cool-downs when your child is angry and praise him when he practices good self-control. This can improve his self-esteem.

Start Now! – Parent Group meeting Wednesday October 8th

A learning group for parents and their middle and high school students with intellectual 
and developmental disabilities to prepare for future employment 
When: October 8, 2014 
6-8:00 pm 
Where: Interlake High School,16245 NE 24th St. Bellevue, WA 98008 
This is a potluck: Please bring a main dish or salad to share. 
We will provide paper products, drinks and cookies.
TOPIC: MAKING A PLAN. This meeting will focus on taking our hopes and dreams for our child’s life and begin to make them into a plan. What is needed? What skills do they need? What resources? What kind of support? Where do I go next? The students are going to be working on their personal profiles, a sort of “pre-resume” as well as some other activities. We will also hear from Barb Hall, a mother who did extensive planning to help her son achieve his dream of independence. 
Siblings are welcome to come and participate, but there is no childcare available.
Future topics include: Technology,  Scheduled for the 2nd Wednesday of each month during the 2014 school year.
Please RSVP here so we can plan the appropriate support:
For more information contact David Murahashi

REMINDER!!! ~ IDEA Blueprints to Special Education ~ Shoreline Conference Center ~ September 13th 2014

WAAA is holding its 4th annual fall IDEA-Blueprints to Special Education on September 13, 2014, 9:30-4:00 at the Shoreline Conference Center. They would love for you to join them and encourage you to spread the word to your social circles, friends and families that would benefit from the workshop.

Here are the details below, and the flyer is attached:

Our 4th annual fall IDEA-Blueprints to Special Education will be held on September 13, 2014, 9:30-4:00 at the Shoreline Conference Center.

Join Special Education Attorneys Katherine George, Kerri Feeney, Charlotte Cassady and Beth Sigall who explain how to use the building blocks of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to develop appropriate services for your child or student.

9:30 – Check in; Meet & Greet
9:45 – Introductions
10:00 – 12:15 Panel presentation (held at the Mt. Rainier room)

Evaluation Process – How does it get captured in an IEP (what drives services)

Eligibility: How is it determined? How old must a child be? Must a child be identified as a certain category to receive services?

The IEP Meeting: What can I expect? What do all the sections mean? Do we need all these people here? How is it authorized, what do I sign?

My IEP is Out of Date, what steps can I take to modify it? Involving the IEP team, each person’s role (funding, training, instructional design, therapy recommendations)

It feels One Size Fits All- What program types and related services are Available? How to pursue 1:1 support, ABA, OT, Counseling, SLP, Staff training, other related services.

Understanding FAPE (meeting educational standards) & the LRE;

Alternative or private placements

Aversive Intervention Plans – when is it considered seclusion and restraint? What are my child’s rights? How do I get a safety plan?

Transition Planning. Do academics stop at 12th grade for a student who is going to school through 21? When does vocational training start, what if all on campus experiences are janitorial? How do I negotiate for meaningful off campus experiences, at what ages can it start?

Resolving Differences -What are the steps I can take to resolve disputes with the IEP – Letters to a stranger: The teacher is ignoring my child’s needs, the principal doesn’t know my child, how do I write a letter to a stranger?

12:15-12:45 Lunch

12:45 – 4:00 Small Group Discussions (Everyone will have an opportunity to participate in all round table discussions – held at the Mt. Rainier, Spartan and Highlander rooms)

Group 1 = initial assessments, reevaluations, IEEs
Evaluation Process In Depth – How does it drive programming? What if the school did a cursory evaluation? What if my child is non-verbal and has challenging behaviors, what if my child is gifted, but has uneven abilities?
IEE’s – When & How do I ask for one?

Group 2 = IEPs – special education and related services
Effective education – How do I negotiate for research based and evidence based methodology, how much data can I ask for? How often can progress be reported, what if the expectation is REALLY low, how can I negotiate for access to general ed. for a highly impacted student, how can I negotiate for access to the gifted program if my child has social & organization needs?
How to secure services for high functioning students who don’t present with exceptional needs (needs fall through the cracks)
Transition Plans & Vocational Training
What does 18-21 look like for higher functioning students – College prep, etc.

Group 3 = Placement & resolving differences; Due Process
Placement – Full range of instructional arrangements & supplementary aids & services, how to negotiate for appropriate supports in the least restrictive environment, what if there are no good options in the district, how & when do I negotiate for private placement
Resolving differences, I can’t afford an attorney, my child’s been out of school for 4 months! Documentation along the way in case you ever need to duke it out! Where do I begin?

Group 4 = Discipline and aversive interventions
Positive Behavior Supports, safety plans, how to write letters, what information to include.

Please send an email to for more details.

Resources and references from the special education training are available athttp://www.washingtonautismadvoca

Register Here!
http:// http://www.washingtonautismadvocac idea-blueprint-special-educ ation-sept-13th/

We would be grateful of your support and your help in spreading the news about this event. Thank you and please let me know if you have any questions!

Jess Silvernail
Executive Assistant

Washington Autism Alliance & Advocacy

16225 NE 87th St. Suite A-9

Redmond, WA 98052

phone: 425 894 7231

cell: 425 941 6842

New toolkit available: Accessing Home and Community-Based Services

Autism Now just posted today about a new toolkit for accessing home and community based services. My hopes are that some will find this information useful. To view toolkit please click on link at the bottom of post.

Accessing Home and Community-Based Services: A Guide for Self Advocates is a tool designed to help people with disabilities, families, and friends find and use resources that are available. This may include family and friends, community-based services, state funded waivers and programs, and other resources to help empower people with disabilities to live as independently as possible and make their own choices about what they need. This tool can help those using it become more self-sufficient and independent. It can also help spread awareness about resources that you may not have known about or been familiar with. It is a tool to inform about various resources and how to access them.

To view toolkit please click on link: Autism Now’s Accessing Home and Community Based Services

Athletes for Kids ~ Youth Mentoring Program Serving Children with Special Needs & Disabilities

Our mission is to create communities where all children of all abilities are celebrated and we do this by providing dedicated young mentors to children who are in need of a friend! Athletes For Kids is a youth mentoring program that specifically serves children with special needs and disabilities of all kinds here in the eastside Seattle area. The “Kids” in our name are children grades 1-8 being mentored by our program. The “Athletes” are high school athletes who make a commitment to mentor one child for the duration of their high school career.

Children come to our program from a wide variety of backgrounds and have different reasons for seeking a mentoring relationship with us. They benefit significantly from their time spent with an older role model. Athletes For Kids has successfully helped children with autism, ADHD, depression, a wide range of physical and developmental disabilities, as well as children who counselors feel just need a special friend in their lives. We have matched 1st graders through 9th graders from public, private and home schools.

Our mentors have a unique impact because of their age and their perceived status as athletes in the community. They are proven, responsible young members of society motivated to succeed in school and their chosen sport who are committed to sharing their gifts and passion with the greater community. We carefully screen and accept only highly qualified applicants. 

We would love to have you join us as part of our community of support – as a parent of a child participant, as a parent of a mentor Athlete or as a volunteer! Please feel free to reach out to us here at Athletes For Kids if you have any questions or would like to get involvedIf you know of a family or a child who might benefit from our program, please share this email or our contact infromation. Thanks!

“How Common Core Standards Affect Your Child” ~ CHADD Meeting September 16

“How Common Core Standards Affect Your Child.” 

Tuesday, September 16: Speaker Pat Steinburg

Pat Steinburg returns to Eastside CHADD to begin the school year with the latest information about the significant curriculum changes in your local district and WA state. This program is a ‘must attend” for every parent who now has children in schools or who has children who will soon enter our schools.  We invite teachers and school staff to join us to learn about Common Core in the classroom.  Pat is very familiar with WA State OSPI standards with her expertise as a Special Education Law Cadre trainer.

Ms. Steinburg will provide background information on the Common Core Standards, including who wrote them and why. In addition, the potential positive and negative effects of the Common Core on students with disabilities will be discussed.

We ask parents to invite their children’s doctors, teachers, school nurses, counselors, and psychologists to our meetings.

To learn more about Eastside CHADD and to sign up for our email announcements, please visit our web site at

Educators: We now offer clock hours at a reasonable rate.

 Eastside CHADD meets the third Tuesday of the month from 7:00 – 9:00 PM.

September – June (except December) Doors open at 6:30 PM.

 Members – Free; Non-Members: Suggested Donation – $5


Evergreen Healthcare (Formerly Evergreen Hospital Medical Center)

Surgery & Physicians Center

12040 NE 128th Street

Kirkland, WA 98034

Room TAN 101 (downstairs)


From Southbound I-405:
Take the NE 124th Street exit (exit 20)
Turn left onto NE 124th Street. Turn left at the second light onto 124th Avenue No. Take the next right, onto 120th Ave NE.
Go up the hill and turn right onto NE 130th Lane. Follow the signs to the parking garage. Park and follow the signs to the Evergreen Surgery & Physicians Center.

From Northbound I-405:
Take the NE 124th Street/Totem Lake Boulevard exit (exit 20B).
Keep to the right (Totem Lake Boulevard).
Proceed straight through the light. Go up the hill and turn right onto NE 130th Lane. Follow the signs to the Blue entrance parking garage. Park and follow the signs to the Evergreen Surgery & Physicians Center.

Please join Eastside CHADD to receive all the benefits of membership. To join, go to: and click on the JOIN EASTSIDE CHADD button.