Children, without a doubt, are a definite blessing. During the infant and toddler stages, you are excitedly snapping pics as they check-off and reach each milestone. During the primary years, you are proudly displaying works of art on a crowded fridge for all to see. But then, one day, the inevitable happens. Your bouncing baby boy are girl turns into someone that you may not recognize—a tween. Tweens have their own unique set of characteristics…they are sort of like generation X, sandwiched in between the primary stage of life and the teen years.
If you are the parent of a tween, you have at one point of another questioned, who are you and what have you done with my child!?
Here are a three tips to help you both make it to the teen years; however, beyond that, well, that’s another post.
1. Let them know that you are the boss. This is not the time to be your child’s friend. Despite the eye rolls, the fluctuations in attitude, etc. your child is looking to you the help get them through this confusing time. As hormones are changing and everything seems foreign, you are their steady rock, so be that. At this age, your child will take cues from you as to how to navigate tween-world and come out ahead.
2. Make the rules and stick by them. Tweens will try and buck the system but if you have made a rule, stick by it. They will challenge you because they are testing their independence but let them know that when it comes to your outlined rules, in your house, things are not up for debate. Communicate expectations early on so that things don’t escalate to unacceptable meltdowns and screaming matches.
3. Respect is a two-way street. It is imperative that you respect your child just as much as you ask that they respect you. Make sure that they know respect is a two-way street. If you do or say something that you should apologize for, go ahead and do it. Make sure that they know that you make mistakes too and are willing to own up to them. Remember, they are modeling your behavior in order to help them grow into the men and women that they will become in the future.