It has already started. I see hints of it here and there. Jase is 11-years-old. In just three months he will be 12. Yes, the tween behavior has begun to emerge. There is a hint of defiance sometimes in his voice when we tell him it is time to get off his iPad or that we need to go somewhere. He questions why he must do something or even openly says he won’t do something like try a new food.
It isn’t that I don’t want him to find his own way, which is part of growing up. I like watching him grow and change. My husband and I are all for giving him room to grow and room to make mistakes. It is our desire to have him behave decently while doing that. No eye rolling. No mellow dramatic sighs or “Whatever” or the dreaded “duh.” (Heck, I have even seen some of these behaviors in Lexie, and she turns nine next month.)
Even though I know he will soon be in Middle School, and the attitude and changes will just keep coming, I am thankful we aren’t fully there yet. But it did make me want me to do a little research on the Internet to see what to expect and some tips on how to handle it.
Tips for handling the Tween years
- Maintain your Parental Status – Now is not the time to become your child’s close friend. He is looking to you to help him through this confusing stage.
- Pick your battles/Draw a clear line in the sand – As always, you need to decide what is important. Focus on the behaviors you want or those you won’t tolerate and let the other issues fall to the wayside. So ignore the eye rolls and sighs but enforce the no raised voices or walking off in the middle of the conversation. And of course, be consistent in following through with punishments.
- Reciprocate Respect – Dealing with emotional tweens or teens can be trying to say the least but remember you need to treat them as an individual with their own thoughts and feelings just as they should treat you as such.
- Explain what you want – As always, you need to deliver a clear message about how you want your child to behave. And when you think they are behaving disrespectful, take the time to make sure they know what they are doing that is wrong. You can’t assume they know what they said or how they said it was wrong. Remember they are still learning. Tell them what they are doing is wrong and offer suggestions of how to say it more respectfully.
I did find a particularly good blog by a fellow mom. She listed five things pre-teen boys want from their moms. (And her own tween approved the list as being accurate.)
1.) They want us to be there for them but not to talk all the time. (She noted that tweens seemed to tune out adults after about 10 words when given advice.)
2.) They want to be silly.
3.) They want us to set the rules but also want some say in them. (She said when she asked her son about punishments for his misbehavior, he almost always suggested a harsher punishment.)
4.) They want to be loved, even if they don’t act like it.
5.) They want us to have their back.
I am not sure any of these tips will help, but it was interesting reading up on others’ experiences and what worked for them or what the experts recommended. I guess we will take this as with everything else that comes with raising a child, you just deal with it as it happens and expect to make mistakes.