A few years back, I wrote a JH newsletter with Scott Rubin. In each issue we would include an article called “developmental doables” that focused on an easily-transferable principle or practice directly related to the unique developmental stage of young teens. So…I thought it was time to bring it back here on the blog. From time to time, Scott or myself will write a “Developmental Doable” Here we go.
When it comes to understanding and relating to the opposite sex, junior high is a wonderfully awkward time! Here are a few ideas to help your young teens be a little more adept at navigating these waters:
* Instead of only teaching on “Sex and Dating”, consider teaching a series on “Understanding Each Other” which focuses on some of the basic differences between males and females. Help guys understand why they usually can’t tease their girl friends the same way they tease their guy friends. Help girls recognize that listening skills take longer to develop in most guys than in girls. Use this series not to stereotype guys and girls, but to help celebrate some of the more common differences between the sexes.
* Occasionally blend small groups. If you have gender-based small groups, look for the occasional opportunity to partner groups together for outings and activities. Have a boys group cook dinner for a girls group. Have a girls group join a boys group for a day hike, etc. In smaller youth groups, this type of stuff happens all the time, but in larger groups, you may need to actually plan for smaller co-ed groups to interact.
* Create a High School Panel. Ask older high school girls to sit on a discussion panel for Junior High boys, and create a high school guys panel for the junior high girls. Leaders will need to screen the questions to make sure they don’t get overly awkward, but allow the junior highers to ask questions and learn from members of the opposite sex who are a little older.