Tweens: 7 Sanity Savers for Parenting a Tween

by gurumommy on July 6, 2010

in hot topics

Although my oldest daughter is barely 10, this hysterical article from by Michelle Lamar, made me laugh (and cringe) all at the same time (she also gives some good advice & helpful books to read)
Michelle writes that:  Parenting during the Tween or Pre-adolescence  years is a challenge.  This stage between middle childhood and adolescence usually hits hardest between the ages of 10 to 12 years old.  The Tween years prepare you for the “3rd circle of hell” also known as the Teen years.  It’s a fact that teenagers can be moody, disrespectful and have a bad attitude.  But what do you do when your 10-year-old starts copping a major attitude?

Here are some warning signs:
- Eye Rolling
- Stomping when mad
- Back-talking
- Ignoring
As the mom of a teen and a tween, it doesn’t get any better as your children get older.  You have to let your tween know what is acceptable and what is NOT.  Trust me, the tween years are a cake walk compared to parenting a teen.

Here’s some advice on how to handle tween bad behavior from Eileen Hayes, a respected Parenting and Child Expert. Hayes advises the producers on the TV series Supernanny:
1. Keep Your Cool: Hayes tells parents to keep their cool. According to her, a calm approach works best – don’t overreact or give it too much attention.
Think about the example you’re setting… if you go off like a firecracker yourself, your tween is likely to adopt this approach too!
2. Be Firm: The Supernanny expert tells parents to remain firm.  You can explain your reasons but you don’t negotiate.
3. Try Natural Consequences: Natural consequences are a great life lesson! Hayes gives an example about homework:
Point out that if he doesn’t do his homework, he’ll get into trouble with his teacher.
You can read more advice from Eileen Hayes on the Supernanny website.
Tween Parenting Advice from a Mom
I’m not an expert and I don’t play one on TV.  But here are some of my tips for surviving the tween years:
4. Keep your sense of humor: Laughter is often the best medicine when it comes to dealing with tweens….and teens. You need to keep your attitude positive and take breaks away from your children so that you don’t get worn down.
5. Don’t Take it Personally: It’s hard but try not to take the tween behavior personally. Just like the Terrible Twos, your child is testing boundaries and some of their behavior is part of what they must go through to grow into adulthood.
6. Read Up on Tween Behavior: Everyone knows that the terrible twos are, well, terrible. There are lots of books telling parents why the terrible twos are a natural part of development.  But some of their behavior isn’t acceptable and isn’t just part of a stage—you need to read up on which touch points are normal and which ones are not.
7. Nip It In the Bud: Certain bad behavior is unacceptable from your tween and you need to cut off bad behavior before it gets worse.   If you think your child is giving you problems at 12, you’ll have a nightmare on your hands when that child has car keys!
Good Reading
‘Get Out of My Life…. but first could you drive me and Cheryl to the mall?’ by Anthony E. Wolf, Ph.D
This parent’s Guide to the NEW teenager is a must read for the teen years but it is also helpful raising a tween. Get it NOW.
’12 Going on 29: Surviving Your Daughter’s Tween Years’ by Silvana Clark
This book was written by a mother-daughter team. It’s great! There is parenting advice plus comments and notes from the teen daughter about the tween years. Very insightful.
‘Your Children are Under Attack: How Popular Culture is Destroying Your Kids’ Values and How You Can Protect Them’ by Dr. Jim Taylor
Heavy title but good reading. This book is focused on pop culture issues  that are often the biggest challenges for parents of teens.  This is mandatory reading for the teen years but save yourself the trouble and read it for your tween parenting!

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