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? 

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