Lately I’ve been in a bit of a fix with my oldest daughter. It seems as if almost overnight she’s gone from being a little kid to an almost teen. Some days she’s her darling child like self, and other days I have to to watch to make sure I don’t say anything wrong. This backfires routinely on me, because a lot of the times when I figure I’m doing something right, the result is not what I expect. And vice versa. What’s a confused mother to do? Because I’m the helpful sort;-), and I love lists, I thought I’d jot down some things I’ve learned so far that have helped me navigate this stormy sea of tween parenting. Here’s are some things I’ve come up with:
- If this is a hard change for you, it’s probably much more harder for them. Physical and emotional changes are a lot to deal with at this age, and it always helps me to remember that our kids sometimes have no clue why they are acting the way they have been. The most unlikely of things could be a trigger, so talk with them after they’ve calmed down, and think what could’ve been the real issue.
- Social pressure and the need to fit is a big deal during these tween years, so if your child doesn’t really want to spend time with a particular person, hear them out, and try to accommodate them, even if you love the other kid’s family. Maybe you could meet the parents during the day when the children are at school? Or perhaps get together less often, but give your child a heads up well before hand, if possible. Try to find a way that works for all of you.
- There will be a time when your daughter/son prefers to confide in one parent or family member rather than you. Don’t take it personally, just be glad somebody that you trust is there for them, and try not to voice your hurt feelings to your child and make it about you.
- Find something to do with your child that involves just the two of you. My 11 year old loves cooking, going to a coffee shop or the library, bowling, playing board games and watching movies. Time away from siblings and others will help you both bond further, and make you appreciate each other more.
- Remember that you are their parent, and you’ve loved and nurtured them even before their birth. You have more influence on your child than you realize so keep talking, being there and loving them, because you, your child and your relationship are definitely worth it.
- Always remember to pray. Know that nobody else will ever pray for your child like you will. May God reward all our intentions, protect our children and enrich our relationships.