Congratulations! You’ve weathered meltdowns over sandwich crusts (on or off!), listened to endless rounds of the wheels on the bus, scrubbed spaghetti stains from the walls and stiff-upper-lipped it through the loudly inquisitive, “Do you have a penis or a vagina?” years.
Well done mom and dad, you did good! Yes, parents are resilient to survive the “terrible two’s” (and three’s). Phew! So, you pretty much thought that it’s going to be smooth sailing – with at least a little less drama – until the years of the teenage rebellion hit, right? Wrong! Welcome to “tweenhood.”
It’s official, kids really grow up so fast. Oh, and STEEL YOURSELF FOR THIS; hugs, kisses, hand-holding and band aids for owies, are not wanted anymore! When your preteen (about age 9 until 12), who was once so willing to climb on your lap and share her secrets wants nothing to do with you, well, it’s tough!
Also, they’ve changed physically, cognitively, emotionally and socially. They are developing a new independence and are pushing to see how far they can stretch the boundaries. But, don’t be fooled, they’re still children and need you now as much as ever, because a strong parent-child relationship now can set the stage for a much less turbulent adolescence.
Although the territory may seem a bit murky, you don’t have to venture into the unknown territory of preteens alone.
We have a few parenting tips from experts to keep the lines of communication open between you and your preteen:
Don’t feel rejected by their new-found independence. All of this (believe it or not) is normal. It is appropriate for kids to start turning away from their parents and relying more on friends. Allow some independence, yet keep an eye on them.
Don’t be a tech dummy. Stay up to date, or your tween will own you. Password protection, parental control, monitoring, rules and limitations, is the name of the game.
Model good qualities. If you want your tween to speak respectfully, be aware of your own level and tone.
Figure out which battles are worth picking. If you can deal with for instance, clothing choices, let it slide.
Spend one-on-one time. Walk the dog or watch a movie together, this will give your child a chance to talk about what’s going on.
Offer your house as a gathering spot for your tween and her friends. Be the parents to drive everyone to the movies; you’ll get a real sense of who their friends are and what they’re up to.
Catch them doing something right. Compliment them on their skills, go big on love and praise.
Be involved. Attend sports practices and matches and talk to them about disappointments.
Be clear on what is, and what is not acceptable, and follow through with related and reasonable consequences.
Don’t be afraid to start conversations about sex and drugs. Unfortunately, the reality is that some kids start to experiment with drugs and alcohol as early as 9 or 10. Sexual development is also a big part of this age. Build a strong foundation by giving them developmentally appropriate information.
So, take a deep breath and keep an open mind; this could be your favourite phase yet!
Source: childmind.org, www.mumsnet.com, www.pamf.org, www.livestrong.com, www.ahaparenting.com, www.supernanny.co.uk, www.parenting.com, www.tots100.co.uk, www.positiveparentingconnection.net, health.clevelandclinic.org, www.babble.com, www.femina.in, www.scarymommy.com, blogs.babycenter.com
DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.