A guest article from a member of The Earnest Mom Squad, Kahentiiosta.
I have one girl amid the tween stage and two just beginning. You would think that I would be a pro since I’ve had one girl as a tween for two and a half years now. Alas, I am still learning something new every day. A Tween is no longer a little child, but not quite a teenager. A tween is a child between the ages of 9 and 12. Their emotions and behaviors reflect this in between stage. The term tween has become very popular in the last few years.
Even if you thought having an easy child, would make tweenhood easy as well. You may come to realize it is very different. There are new challenges with each stage of your child’s life. Learning to deal with your newly independent tween can be frustrating, for both the parent and child. There are so many new things to think about, discipline, school, homework, spending time with family and friends, and learning independence.
Many parents react to the them by distancing themselves due to the tween’s moodiness, increasing independence, and maturing physical body. This can cause some strife to the tween, as they begin to lose that connection with their parents.
One of the main ways to make it through this stage is continuing to build a firm foundation with your child and this will ease the transition to the teen years.
Here are six tips to peacefully parent your child.
- Recognize and work with your tweens need for independence and reduce rebelliousness. As parents we often feel less powerful and become overprotective to compensate. Instead of hovering over your child, learn to agree and enforce rules that are reasonable and meaningful. Example no phone until after dinner and homework, setting a curfew for the weeknights.
- Continue to stay connected. Spending one on one time with your tween is crucial for this age. Even if it is a quick check in with them each night, a dinner out together once a month, or taking a walk together. Allow your child to voice their concerns, inspirations, and goals for the future.
- Learn to re-think your ideologies of discipline. Learning to repair rather than punish, ask open ended questions instead of lecturing. This will assist in your child learning how to have better judgement with new life challenges. Learning to base the consequences on the actions, will only work for so long until your child begins to talk back. Learning to reciprocate the love for one another, will lower the power struggle of one thinking they are always correct.
- Preteens are actively shaping their identity. It seems as if every week there is a new popular fad, you just caught up to one and another one your tween has jumped into. Offer support to their experimenting and exploring. It may be difficult but try not to comment on their fashions if their body coverage is appropriate and keep an open mind about their music. Be supportive of their deep passions and add guidance as needed.
- Don’t take it personally! If they yell at you, don’t overreact. They may hurt your feelings, and your first line of defense is to walk away, take a deep breath and stand your ground. Responding with love and calmness will get a more respectful reaction.
- Teach your tween about healthy physical self-management. Tweens need at least nine hours of sleep each night, regular meals with low glycemic snacks, and protein. Along with regular exercise. Find ways to maximize on learning mindfulness by encouraging them to listen to guided meditation. This can assist with fueling creativity, concentration, and reducing moodiness. Working together as a family can be beneficial, instead of centering your tween out.
It is natural for a parent to worry about their ever-growing child, but we must be mindful of our reactions to the ever-changing world, and culture around ourselves and tweens. Enjoy this newfound freedom and learning together as a family as the new norm for a developing tween.
What are some of your advice for families with growing tweens?