Scenic view of trees at camp

Middle School is Tough

Posted May 8, 2019


Are you raising a middle school-aged “man-child”? You are not alone! One mom shares from the heart her experiences of parenting her middle school son and how Pine Cove has impacted his confidence and spiritual development.

With Pine Cove’s help each summer, I feel more confident about the man he’s becoming.”

Camper mom

Landon is finishing up the 7th grade this year… thank the Lord! As soon as he began his middle school career, it was like a switch flipped! All of a sudden, he was extremely anxious about his appearance: wearing the “right” clothes and shoes, having the “right” hairstyle, and hanging with the “right” kids. He desired popularity above all, and academics were the last thing on his mind.

Puberty came on like a storm, and he entered a phase of wanting to be left alone all the time and do whatever he wanted with no outside interference. His main purpose in life has become video gaming with friends and vegging in front of the TV while eating in his room—and the door always had to be closed. We have held off on allowing him to have a cell phone, but he tells us he’s the only one in his grade without one. No pressure there, right? To make matters more complicated, he notices girls in a different way—you know what I mean. I feel a heartbreak coming soon! But this is the norm… nothing new here.  

As his mom, I attempt to minimize these distracting forces in order to help him focus and stay accountable for his responsibilities. However, I’m quickly finding my power of persuasion is not what it used to be, and sometimes it’s a big fat FAIL for both of us! Most days, he just needs space and as much grace as I can possibly muster… plus a lot of prayer!  

It’s often difficult to watch him struggle, and giving him the respect he needs is even harder.  It’s like he tries to hold onto his childhood with one hand but reaches out for manhood with the other. Emotions are high at times. His self-esteem takes a daily hit and appears high one minute and rock bottom the next. It doesn’t take much to start an argument, and the pushback is always present. Yet he always wants my approval and to know I love him. He asks me every day if I love him. It’s a constant reminder of how the Lord must feel about ME as His child, anxiously waiting for surrender and obedience so He can just love and take care of me!        

To my delight, Landon often refers to his time spent at Pine Cove during the summer as a liberating week. He rarely sings at church, but he really sings at Pine Cove. He rarely picks up his Bible at home, but he’s excited to share about his Bible study at camp. Sometimes just getting him to camp is a challenge, but once he’s there it’s priceless.  

At Pine Cove, Landon is freed from the stresses of judgment and expectation; his heart opens to worship and he finds peace. Pine Cove is meeting him right where he is at. His counselor is going to personally invest in him, give positive feedback, help him grow spiritually, and have a lifelong influence. I can’t underestimate the impact of this week each summer for any boy! Safely navigating the journey from boyhood to manhood is certainly not easy for a boy or his mom. With Pine Cove’s help each summer, I feel more confident about the man he’s becoming.


Pine Cove exists to be used by God to transform the lives of people for His purposes and His glory. Our mission is to inspire campers to walk intimately with Jesus and equip summer staff to change the world.

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