One of the upsides of middle school
is that your child will have the opportunity to join clubs, sport teams, and possibly, even run or volunteer for school government. Participating in school government can be a wonderful learning opportunity for your tween, and it can even help your child develop skills and meet new friends.
If your child is thinking about joining school government be sure you discuss how it will impact his schedule, time and other activities. But also consider the advantages of what school government can do for your child and what he can learn from the experience.
Middle School Government and Tweens
How Government Works: By joining or being elected to student government your child will learn how a government works and the role he or she will play in that government. The experience can be quite educational. If your child is elected to school government, she'll learn that her job is to represent her fellow students. That can be a challenge, especially when you have a large group of constituents who all demand or want different things. A student government representative will learn how to take everyone's wishes into consideration, and then make the best decisions possible based on resources, time and other school considerations.
How to Compromise: Governments can't work unless there is a little compromise. Nobody can get their way 100 percent of the time. The students may want a blow out party at the end of the year, but the school principal may want something a little more tame. Students may demand more choices in the cafeteria, but the budget may not allow for any changes, despite student wishes. If your child sits on the school government committee he or she will have to learn the fine art of compromise, at some point during the year.
Having a Voice: Being on student government gives your child a voice at the school. He or she may be able to influence a number of decisions that need to be made throughout the year, and that's something to take very seriously. If your child has a role in student government it's important that he or she understand the importance of that role and that it's also a privilege to represent the other students of the school.
Developing Leadership: Students who serve on student government have the opportunity to develop leadership skills that they can use in high school, college and beyond. Help your child learn how to develop strong and ethical leadership skills while serving on the school's government. Point out examples of strong leadership from the news, or your personal life.
Knowing More About His School: Serving on student government gives your child the opportunity to learn more about the school, the staff, and even the student body. Student government also gives students the chance to make friends and work with other students or staff that he or she might not come in contact with ordinarily.
How to Win or Lose: If your child has to run or campaign for a spot on the student government, the experience can prove to be very educational. For starters, your child will learn how to run a campaign, debate, promote and develop his or her opinions on a number of positions. Of course, everyone knows that political campaigns can get ugly, and unfortunately, your child may learn a little something about that as well. In the end, win or loose, your tween will gain from the experience and know a little more about the political process and how it works.