As many of you may know, we are currently grooming a beautiful and talented girl to become a phenomenal young woman. We? You may say, yes we because we’re in this together lol. As we reach the milestone of middle school, I am finding that our tween struggles with social skills and independence. She is an advanced honor roll student and is very respectful at home and to others, with the occasional expected rebuttals. She is an amazing help to her little sister and takes immense pride in her role of big sister. Overall, she is an awesome kid.
Seems perfect right? Well, I am going to share with you guys a few parenting tips I’ve acquired along the way during the process of raising a tween. I am hoping once you finish reading this post, you leave knowing you aren’t alone. I am convinced there is no handguide on how to handle or prepare for this stage of childhood. That is why I am sharing a few key points I’ve learned on this journey of being a mother of a tween.
MEET THEM WHERE THEY ARE
Parent your child for who they are, not who you want them to be. You will drive a wedge between the two of you if you constantly complain about things they can’t control. You can get your child through every stage if you choose to parent them the way they can understand. If your child responds better to being heard, why isolate them? If your child is a follower why would you allow them to feel alone to follow the wrong crowd?
MAKE THE PUNISHMENT FIT THE CRIME
When it comes to punishment, I take the approach of finding the root cause of the issue instead of solely punishing the act. I am not saying not to punish but you can take away electronics, restrict them to their room and cut off access to all things fun temporarily during the weekend, to make a point. however, I work to find out why she did the act, and try to understand her thought process used to commit to the act, so I can reveal to her other options she could have taken that would have yielded better results.
TAKE THE BLINDERS OFF
We are in the age of unparalleled access! To think that we can shelter and protect your children from any and all situations, is a setting ourselves up for failure. We can filter and restrict access to negative influences at home, but when they are at school the protective cover of home is removed creating an entirely different set of circumstances they have to maneuver. I am making it my mission to equip my tween with the tools she will need to be able to confidently say no to the wrong, and walk to the beat of her own drum on a path that is right. I constantly remind her that the issues and drama taking place at school socially is a temporary condition. What we may find TRIVIAL or even SILLY is very REAL and often SERIOUS to them. Think about how important school was to us at that age. They literally have nothing else to think about. School is their LIFE, their JOB so to speak , it’s during this time they will make decisions that will have a significant impact on their FUTURE.
BUILD THE BRIDGE
Be patient with them because between hormones and chaos at school they are always on edge. Give them space to navigate problems on their own just enough for you to understand their thought process. Always be there to support and aide them into knowing that you have their backs. TRUST building is essential during this stage. Not just you trusting them but them trusting you. Many people preach about not wanting to be their child’s friend but I have to disagree. I am her mother and her friend, this world is hard to navigate and I want her to know she will ALWAYS have a friend in me.
BE THE EXAMPLE
When I reprimand my tween, I remind myself that she is a blossoming young lady and respect comes with that. I monitor my frustration level and speak to her with dignity regardless the situation because her ability to exercise tolerance starts at home. If she is shown respect and kindness at home she will demand it and accept nothing less in the real world. Tolerance and good habits are formed at this age. It really bothers me to see young girls in toxic and or abusive relationships. I always wonder where the parents are in those situations. Did the the parents play a role in grooming the child to believe toxicity is the new normal? As a village, we must do what is necessary to keep our tweens out of these situations and pull them back if they veer off course.
I hope the gems I’ve shared help you along your journey into tweendom with your child. Please know, we are all in this together. I am still a strong believer in the village mentality, because it absolutely takes a village to raise a child. Let’s teach our children to respect themselves and others. It is our obligation to make sure the know they are loved and valued, and that their very existence is paramount above anything else.