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Talking to Tweens: Middle Schoolers Like to Be Told

Remember that old Mr. Roger’s song: “I Like to Be Told”? Well, Michelle Icard, the author of Middle School Makeover, sure remembers it. “Whatever comes down the pike, we as parents like to know in advance. Our kids feel the same way.

If you know a big change is coming, sit them down and tell them about it,” she says.

Transparency and communication are standbys for a reason, whatever one’s age.

Get some ideas for how to incorporate this advice into your day-to-day routine with this helpful one-minute video.


For those people who are watching who were fans of the show Mr. Rogers, he liked to sing a song called “I Like To Be Told”, and I always remember that song. And it was about if I’m going to go to the doctor and he is going to give me a shot, I like you to tell me. Whatever’s coming down the pike, we as parents like someone to tell us. So same thing for our kids. If you know that a big change is coming, they want you to tell them first.

Sit them down and let them know, “Hey you’re going to middle school now, and so here’s how things are going to work. This is how my role is going to change a little bit. I’m excited about you becoming a young adult. Here are some of the things that are open to you, new opportunities and responsibilities,” and have a family meeting about it. I think that’s really great for the kids, because what’s exciting about middle school is that kids are old enough that they want independence, but they’re young enough still that they still want to please you. So if you set those expectations clearly, they really still want to meet them.

Michelle Icard is the author of Middle School Makeover: Improving the Way You and Your Child Experience the Middle School Years. Learn more about her work with middle schoolers and their parents at

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