The Heart of Middle-School Meanness

Kristen Hatton | May 23, 2017

It doesn't matter where you live, what type of school system you’re in, or who your kids’ friends are, there’s no foolproof way of avoiding middle-school meanness. That’s not to say the meanness doesn’t start before middle school, nor that it ends before high school—or stop in adulthood, for that matter. But by and large the drama, the cattiness, the dismissiveness, the name-calling, the online bullying, the rejecting, and the outright hateful words and behavior start blowing up big time around middle school.

We’re often left wondering why these kids who used to be so good—kids who should know better—are behaving so terribly. And how do we handle it? Whether our child feels like the victim, is caught in the middle, or is the one misbehaving (we’re fooling ourselves if we think our kids never fall into this category), parenting through the drama and meanness is hard.

Heart of the Problem

External factors like family, environment, friend groups, and life circumstances may contribute, but they aren’t the primary problem. The primary problem is our kids’ hearts, and our hearts too—it’s a universal human heart problem. Therefore, we must consider the heart to properly address the unkind actions. If we only deal with the outer behavior, we’ll never effectively change what’s really going on. 

As we chisel beneath…

To read the rest of this article, visit