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Understanding & Parenting your Tween


These day’s children are growing up faster than your average pumpkin patch and with it comes the need to learn some facts about this pre-teen stage, also known as the tween years. Little information exists regarding the tween years, but have faith, this stage does pass and you can successfully parent your tween if you only begin to understand what is going on with them.



Starting around age 8 your child may start to exhibit changes of demeanor, attitude and personality; this could be a completely drastic change that totally blindside you.   The tween years are defined to be the ages 8-12 and thankfully during the tween years your child should still have that need to please their parents, unlike most teenage years.

Puberty seems to be starting earlier and may be to blame for the change in your tween; most 8-12 year olds are starting to have changes in hormone levels as well as body changes. These tweens are a wee bit too young to comprehend what is going on with their growth spurts and so you need to become a more understanding parent who allows for open communication.

The first strength a parent needs to develop during this tween stage is to grow thick skin, with the emotional and body changes going on, you will find that your tween may have negative behaviors as well as mood swings that aren’t to be taken personally. Your tween may have you about ready to break down in tears because your once angel of a child is now extremely moody and mean. Take what your tween says lightly, but also remain calm, firm and consistent with your expectations of your child.


Your tween may be saying “no” more often, simply because they feel they can, and they may be fighting against everything they previously used to do without complaint. Understand that this too shall pass; it is a phase where your child is trying to figure out who they are and where they want to be in life. The tween years can not only be challenging for parents, but for the child as well. With puberty starting in, they feel so out of control inside and will lash out at you simply because they are comfortable with you. Learn to be the confident parent who has compassion for their tween.

Start having open discussions about their body changes, ask them questions and let them take time to answer the questions. During this stage you may find that your tween won’t answer your question about how they are feeling until hours later, this is perfectly fine. Allow your tween ample time to come back to the conversation when they feel ready, if you allow your tween to have space to sort out their own thoughts in a healthy way, you will find they remain open to telling you about their world.

These years are going to be extremely difficult for you, because your child will turn into someone you are not familiar with. The behavior that you see in the tween years is only a preview of what the teen years will be like; learn to remain firm, compassionate and consistent during this phase to ensure the teen years don’t get completely out of control.


Let's discuss: What other tips can you share about the tween years? 

Annmarie John
32 Comments
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32 comments:

  1. My boys are 9 and 12 and the mood swings are awful. They either can't or won't tell you what's wrong. As a mom you just want to fix it but they close up. It's hard.

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    1. Oh I totally get that. I have an 11 year old who does the same thing. He tends to talk to his dad more than me though.

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  2. I would say that the tween years might be even more scary than the teen years. At least in the teen years, you know what you're in for. Tweens alternate between still thinking you're totally amazeballs to thinking that you're an idiot.

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    1. Hahahaha I had to laugh at this Stacie but you're absolutely right. I know my son thinks that way about me at times.

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  3. Pinning this one. I know a lots of friends whose kids are now tweens, or rapidly approaching the age range.

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    1. Oh I know a lot of people myself and I'm living it myself too.

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  4. The tween years can be challenging for both the kids and the parents. Thanks for sharing this informative post, there is a lot of good info here for parents of tweens.

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    1. Oh yes it surely can be and I hope my info can help at least 1 parent.

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  5. I'm so grateful my nieces and nephews are older than my own children. I got a preview into the tween years so I could prepare. It's so tough to be a tween, and parenting them isn't easy either.

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    1. They're going through so much that it can be difficult, it's even worse when they don't open up to you.

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  6. These are really great tips. I remember my son being more emotional during that time. I would just remind him that he could always talk to me or his dad about anything. He would normally go and talk to dad when he was ready.

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    1. That's exactly what I'm going through right now. I would have thought that he would feel comfortable talking to me, but dad it is!

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  7. This is some good advice to keep in mind. Some of the personality and behavioral changes can definitely be jarring.

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    1. Yes they most certainly can be. I think the tween years are almost quite like the terrible two's.

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  8. What an informative post that surely will help parents of tweens!

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    1. Thank you and I truly hope that it does. What exactly did you learn from it?

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  9. I think that there are two times in a child's life when it toughest on the parent: when they are toddlers and when they are tweens. Toddlers are into everything and tweens are still trying to figure themselves out. It's a tough time, for sure.

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    1. You totally nailed it Dawn. While my own 4yr old was pretty quiet, it seems like she's more adventurous and almost a tween at age 4 than she was at age 2. :)

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  10. This is such an excellent and timely post. My own son just turned 9 and I know that he is definitely changing.

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    1. Oh mine is 11 and he did around your son's age as well. While he's pretty good now, it was a struggle about a year or so ago.

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  11. This is a good article, good information on the tween.
    Interesting to learn this info - my 7yr old niece is already showing signs of entering tween-hood.

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    1. Oh I totally get it with the 7 year olds. I have a 4 going on 14 on my hands.

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  12. Oh, very nice post. My son is still young but I have a sister who is a tween. I know how hard it is for my mom!

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    1. And you were probably the same way as a tween yourself, it's why I TRY not to sweat the little things, because I'm sure I was the same way with my mom and I turned out ok.

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  13. My oldest is so close to being a tween. I'm not ready!! These are great things to think about

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    1. You better get ready Amanda, time waits for no man and neither does the tween years. :)

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  14. Our oldest daughters are 18 and 20, but are twins are 10, so we're hitting the tween years again! Stay strong mama! You will survive even the craziest of days!

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    1. Oh I've been through them already myself. I have a 20 and 15 year old and now an 11 with a 4 going on 40. :)

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  15. I have not made it to the tween stage yet with my kids but I can only imagine what it is like. I remember when I was that age and my mom would literally just ignore my "mood swings" the majority of the time.

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    1. And sometimes that's truly the way to go.

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  16. This was a hard time for me growing up so I hope to be more sensitive to my childs needs during this time for him. These are great ideas for fostering communication and staying open with your tween!

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    1. Oh I can just imagine Krystal, it was pretty tough I would say for myself as well so I try and now be empathetic to their needs.

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[name=AnnMarie John] [img=https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-X9gUeVik-ZY/WJjwNTOobII/AAAAAAABTJ4/qEhU0n62_AIo-j6-6LA2OFOr44lKCHASwCLcB/s100/AnnMarie%2BJohn%2BHeadshot.JPG] [description=AnnMarie John is a lifestyle blogger, mom of 4, retired army veteran and a huge Disney lover. Formerly from the beautiful island of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the Caribbean and now living in colorful Colorado, she loves sharing her opinions on everything, crafting and food.] (facebook=http://www.facebook.com/theannmariejohn) (instagram=http://www.instagram.com/theannmariejohn) (twitter=http://www.twitter.com/theannmariejohn) (pinterest=http://www.pinterest.com/theannmariejohn) (email=mailto:annmarie@annmariejohn.com)

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