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Parenting: Raising Tweens and Teens

Posted on Sep 5, 2008 in Blog, Families, Family, Motherhood, Parenting, Teen Boys, Teen Girls, Teens, Tweens, Working Moms

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Ways to Avoid the Pitfalls of Parenting Tweens

Parents usually get a different sense of drama, mystery, horror, comedy and self­help

while raising a tween or teen. Roller coaster emotions and bizarre behavior leaves many

at their wits end. Yet, the high, low and extreme emotions that 10-­14 year old children

express are completely normal! From self­image to social status, it’s a critical period of

massive change. It’s a time of major transformations for parent too; however, there are

things that you can do to avoid pitfalls and ensure that everyone survives it!

Each child has traits, preferences and interests that are unique to him. During this phase

of their development, tweens are full of curiosity about themselves, their peers and their

role in society. A considerable amount of their time is spent socializing using fashion,

social media and music to articulate who they are. Because they don’t know any better,

they unfairly compare themselves to other children that they are around. They also have

major attitudes that change just like the weather! All of these characteristics are indicative

of a child who is entering into a new phase of growing up.

Dealing with a tween who thinks he knows everything at 10­12 can really test your

patience! In fact, some parents find it challenging not to use their pre­tween parenting

style when dealing with their developing child. When children are younger, they need

more instructions because they haven’t developed the necessary skills to judge and make

decisions independently. However, as they grow up and gain more independence

research shows that their development is enhanced by guidance, support and a positive

relationship with their parents. The following are a few ways to avoid some of the pitfalls

of parenting tweens:

Focus on a healthy relationship

When it comes to tweens and teens, parenting from a perspective of power can have the

complete opposite effect of the desired outcome. They oftentimes revolt and become

defiant instead. However, cultivating a healthy relationship with your tween or teen can

help the two of you get through this turbulent phase. The basis of all healthy relationships

is love, respect, mutual concern, warmth, laughter and trust. When children have those

fundamentals in relationships at home, it positively affects the way they feel about

themselves, their interactions with peers, and, people abroad.

Don’t take mood swings personally

Even the most patient parents are tried when their tween slams a door, rolls his eyes or

becomes snappy. However, it’s important to understand that mood swings are largely due

to the enormous amount of hormonal changes that your tween is experiencing. Boys and

girls experience invisible and visible physical changes that make them feel less secure,

question their identity, and search for understanding about how to deal with the

transformation. Monitor the changes in your tween’s emotions, academic performance,

interactions with others as well as diet and sleeping patterns. If you notice behavior in

excess of basic brooding, consult with a licensed psychologist or other mental health

professional.

Set dates for family fun

Tweens and teens need to have fun with their parents even when they act like they don’t.

They actually like spending time with you, but, you have to be intentional about it. Set

dates for doing fun things together. It doesn’t have to be a major outing. It can be as

simple as baking cookies, decorating or organizing a room, watching a movie together, a

DIY project, attend a college athletic game together…the ideas are endless! The most

important thing here is the special time that you spend together. It conveys support, love,

and that you have a meaningful connection with your tween.

Nurture your tween’s quest for his identity

The remarkable behavioral changes that tweens experience include: mood swings; a

quest to discover self and individuality; greater inclination to succumb to social forces like

peer pressure; and, less interest in spending time with parents. However, as your tween

moves towards more independence, he still needs your guidance and support. Encourage

activities that help him use his natural abilities, express special gifts and show his

uniqueness. For example, if he’s good at playing a particular sport, encourage his

participation in school and/or extracurricular activities that will help him cultivate his skills.

About Author:

Trevicia Williams, Ph.D. is a leading expert on helping people “get there,” achieving

balance and success at home and work. She is a life coach, author, speaker and

media contributor passionate about keeping people savvy about healthy relationships and

human behavior in an ever changing world. Learn more at http://www.treviciawilliams.com

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