There are a lot of changes when your tiny tot turns a tween. School, family time, homework, friends, and discipline undergo a change. This is the time when hormones kick in and puberty approaches, and your preteen starts to come under the influence of peer pressure. Parenting preteens can, therefore, be a huge challenge. But does this mean you should be overreacting to your tween’s moodiness? Perhaps you may want to rein in this sudden change in your tiny tot’s behavior as he transitions from a toddler to a tween.
The physical changes in their body and increasing independence may make a tween feel disconnected from their parents. Such tweens may try to find support among the peer group. However, as a parent, you should try to understand these changes in your child and make them feel that they are in a secure nest even as they venture out into the exciting but scary world.
No, you do not have to be overpowering, but you certainly need to exercise your influence so that your baby takes the right foot forward in this world where every other person is a stranger.
Tips on Parenting A Tween: Find Some “We” Time Everyday
Make it a point to spend some we time together with your tween. These private moments together will strengthen your bond with your baby, while also help you keep a check on your tween’s growth. You may want to spend fifteen minutes at bedtime together, or you could go for short car rides just to be with each other every day.
The idea is to spend some time with each other. So it is a good idea to schedule regular time with each parent. Don’t expect your tween to invite closeness at each interaction. When you are looking for those moments of closeness with your baby, make sure you spend the time listening, rather than choosing to quiz or lecture them.
Preteen Parenting Tip: Set Reasonable Limits
Growing up kids see their parents’ meddling in their affairs as interference. As a parent, you tend to be overprotective of your child. But this is not the best way to raise a child.
Set reasonable limits and explain it to them, but simultaneously try to empathize when they say they hate your limits. Empathy will help regulate his emotions and behavior. A growing-up child looks for reasons and excuses to be independent. They will not hesitate to test your limits, and you should not lose your temper while setting limits based on your values.
Parenting Your Preteen: Power-Based Punishment Strategies Don’t Work
Punishments make them liars. Then this takes the form of a power struggle, which you can never win from your baby. Tweens start to be heavily influenced by their peer group, which often conflicts with the standards laid down by you.
At this stage, you should not be surprised to find your tween starting to show disrespect toward you, especially if you try to use punishment to control your growing-up child. Soon you may realize that punishment tactics do not work in the preteen years; rather, they will only deepen the gap between you and your tween. Don’t take it personally. Such undisciplined behavior is expected of tweens.
So what is the way out?
Perhaps little efforts on your part could help you retain and restore your lost respect in your child’s heart.
The idea is to strengthen your bond with your tween in order to make peace and put an end to that power struggle. When the parent-child bond is strong, they will be willing to cooperate rather than disappoint their parent. A strong parental bond can help make your child respectful, responsible, self-disciplined, and considerate.
Parenting a Tween: Understanding Hormonal Changes
Your tween is experiencing major changes in his body. The hormonal changes are triggering mood swings, making them emotionally volatile and distracted from family bond and preoccupied with the opposite sex.
Even your tween is not able to understand the reason for such volatile changes. As a parent, it is a good idea to tell your preteen that you see them upset and want to give them time so they can understand what’s affecting their mood. If they want to be left alone for some time, let it be. Give them a tight hug later and see if they have anything to say. Acknowledge your tween’s perspective, even though they are wrong, and try to work out a win-win solution.
As your child moves toward adolescence, he will experience all sorts of upheavels, from a cuddly tiny tot who loves your presence to an aggressive tween, who wants to be all by himself. Here are a few more tips on parenting your tween to ensure a smoother transition to teenage:
- Do not feel dejected by their newfound freedom or their rejection of your company. You may feel hurt to see your tiny tots change emotionally, physically, and cognitively. He may be trying hard to push the limits set by you. But this is no reason to worry about. You, too, have passed through this phase, and it is nothing new. Rather, try to help your kids adjust to the transition.
- Listen, listen, and listen. As a parent, you may be willing to offer advice to your adolescent. However, the right strategy is to allow him to speak, so that he enters into a comfort zone with you. When he knows he can share his life and experiences with you, he may be willing to pay heed to your advice.
- Avoid being overly judgmental, especially before your tween. The rigidity of your judgment on specific issues may backfire.
- Do not hesitate to start a conversation about gender, sex, and drugs. Share developmentally appropriate information with them and help them build their knowledge on these issues.
Parents can be critical teachers to their tweens, who are entering the phase of adolescence. A few cuddles, hugs, friendly talks, and sweet pieces of advice may go a long way in strengthening your parental bond. No doubt, parenting a tween is a huge challenge, but the journey can be pleasant if you follow these tips on parenting your preteen.
Ravneet also blogs at www.wellnessguide.com