These Tip for Navigating the Tween Years Might Save a Tween-Mom Life
“I’m not little any more mom!”
Her statement stung, because though my eyes see a ten-year-old my heart sees that tiny baby I brought home from the hospital.
There is something different about the tween years that can make mothering particularly challenging.
Tweens are beginning to develop true opinions about everything and are able to articulate the reasons behind these opinions. This is great because now you can have intelligent conversations. It also means your tween will question your decisions, will push against boundaries, and may have valid reasons for those actions.
So what is a mom supposed to do? Stand toe-to-toe with her tween who is experiencing hormonal swings and roller coasters and fight? Or maybe take a deep breath, jump off the roller coaster, and begin to guide your tween to wise choices.
How do you do that?
- Agree with your tween that he or she is growing up. That it may be time for some more freedoms as well as responsibilities.
- Require that your tween address you with honor and respect when discussing changing boundaries or adding new freedoms.
- Tell your tween that this is new territory for both of you. Even if you have parented a child through the tween years before you have never parented this particular child through this time. It is ok to tell your tween that you will make mistakes.
- Tell your tween what your goal is as you parent him or her. I told my tween that my goal for her is that she grows to be a woman who loves God, loves others, is responsible, and equipped to reach her God-given goals.
- Set clear expectations when you change boundaries or give additional freedoms. For instance, “I will let you spend 15 more minutes on video games, but you have to show you are responsible enough to do all your homework.”
- Show interest in something they enjoy. Does your tween love Minecraft? Learn about it. Does he enjoy basketball? Watch some games with him. This shows your tween you care about them.
- Ask your tween for advice or for his opinion. This shows your tween that you realize he is smart and able to make wise choices.
- Be willing to learn from your tween. Ask her to show you how to do something on Minecraft or how to draw something or how to shoot a basketball.
- Laugh with your tween. He now understands your jokes and will appreciate them.
- Ask your tween about her thought life. Raging hormones often send emotions out of control, but thoughts can help reign in wild emotions.
- Validate your tweens emotions. I have told my kids, “I am so sorry you feel left out. That really hurts. But remember God loves you. I love you. You are loved and not completely left-out.”