A teacher’s letter to parents of middle schoolers goes viral

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Sixth grade English teacher Lori Singaraju recently wrote an open letter to parents of middle schoolers, and it had the internet in tears. In the letter, Singaraju shared what she’s learned about middle schoolers over the past 15 years of reading student journals.

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The letter aims to shed some light on the experiences and inner thoughts of middle schoolers, to help their parents better understand them. Singaraju writes, “I know things are likely a bit rough at home now that your child is a sweaty mass of hormones and nonsense TikTok slang. Let me clear a few things up for you…”

The teacher goes on to explain some things that might be helpful for parents to know about this tricky age group, including:

  • “They can’t pause their video games when they’re playing online. This is a top thing they wish adults understood.”
  • “’Skibidi’ comes from a YouTube show. They use it to mean bad. Except the ones who use it to mean good. It’s kind of all purpose. The important thing to note is that if you’re tired of hearing skibidi all of the time, start saying it yourself. It immediately becomes uncool.”
  • “The stuff they’re interested in may not make one bit of sense to you, but try to at least fake a desire to learn about it. Talking about it lights them up.”
  • “Tell them how proud you are, not just of their accomplishments, but of who they are as people. It will mean the world to them.”

The viral letter elicited tons of emotional comments from parents on social media. For example:

  • “This is my favorite thing anyone has ever written about parenting middle schoolers.”
  • “Absolutely love this. My babies are about to graduate HS and this was a wonderful reminder to always listen to them and a reminder of how fast time passes us by.”
  • “I’m in tears as I type this comment. As a teacher myself and a mom of two middle school boys, I appreciate these words SOOOO much.”
  • “My kids are years away from 6th grade yet I’m crying reading this.”
  • “Omg I looove to tell my son to have a ‘skibidi toilet day!!!’ when I drop him off at school. He rolls his eyes, but it also makes him laugh.”

Singaraju offered helpful advice along with some insights into how middle schoolers think, and how tough it can be to parent them. Lots of parents who read the letter felt seen and validated, and felt like they understood their kids a little better. 

Mckenna Saady is a staff writer and digital content lead for ParentsTogether. Before working for nonprofits such as the Human Rights Campaign and United Way, Mckenna spent nearly a decade as a child care provider and Pre-K teacher. Originally from Richmond, VA, she now lives in Philadelphia and writes poetry, fiction, and children’s literature in her spare time.