Working with middle school and early high school boys for the first time in my life has given me a much clearer idea of posturing. For the first month of school, I kept thinking about how confident they were at such a young age. Generally speaking, I think the media (movies, television, etc.) portrays 6th-9th graders as awkward and unconfident. So it was a big culture shock for me to hear a 6th grade boy walk into a room of much older kids and demand everyone’s attention.
What I have come to learn since is that this behavior is partially attributed to the giftedness, but also that it is certainly posturing. I witness this type of behavior every single day as our young students try to figure out their place in this world. I don’t believe that this is necessarily an incorrect instinct, but it can definitely wear on the patience of the people that have to watch the posturing all the time.
Young teenagers often feel the need to posture to make themselves seem cooler or smarter than they actually are. In the case of interpersonal relationships at this age, we see boys trying to impress each other with actions that older kids and adults would perceive as annoying or childish. On the intelligence front, middle school students are still learning discipline and responsibility about classwork and assignments, so we often see posturing when the student is not adequately prepared to discuss a certain topic or take a test.
Often this posturing comes from a lack of self-confidence. Parents if you are noticing this behavior in your children, this is a sign that they are struggling with self-esteem. It is on us as well as you to find additional ways to build them up so that they do not need to posture. Real confidence can replace the annoying posturing when self-esteem exists. Take some time to invest in your child’s confidence.