Research shows middle school years are toughest for moms

Published: Aug. 8, 2019 at 3:53 PM EDT
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Middle school is tough for kids and new research shows that it may be even tougher for their moms.

An Arizona State University professor tracked moms' well-being through the development stages of their kids from infancy to college and discovered some interesting trends. She focused on moms, not dads, because moms are usually the primary caregiver.

Jen Clausing's daughter, Jadyn, starts middle school in the fall. She can't forget how she felt when Jadyn's sister, Macy started there three years ago.

"It was like all of a sudden, she looked older, was acting older, and all of a sudden had the bigger responsibilities all within, seriously, two weeks," said Clausing. "I remember just feeling completely overwhelmed."

"There was one stage where everyone peaked, the bad things, and the stress, and that was middle school," said Suniya Luthar, PhD, a psychology professor at Arizona State University.

Professor Luthar measured moms' adjustment during their kid's middle school years. They scored lower for life satisfaction and higher for stress, emptiness, guilt, and child negative behaviors than moms with kids of other ages. Luthar said moms are unprepared for all the changes.

"Suddenly, this child morphs into this weird person who looks at you with distance and sometimes even dislike and scorn," said Luthar. "That's awfully hard."

Luthar said moms need more support from family, friends, and support groups during and before the middle school years.

"Imagine what your kids need from you, that is what you need from other people, and that needs to be in place and that needs to be respected, prioritized, and sustained," said Luthar.

Luthar said husbands and partners can offer good support, but moms need a "sister network" as well.

Copyright 2019 WILX and Ivanhoe Broadcast News. All rights reserved.

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