Our youngest is now a tween. He has had 7 other siblings who “tweened” before him and none of them was exactly the same.
Having been a mom for 26 years, I feel my knees buckling at the thought of starting out as a mom in this age of – WAAAY too much information. I can tell you from where I am sitting that although raising kids is no small task, it is NOT nearly as complicated as it’s often made out to be.
Moms have been raising kids (and tweens) for thousands and thousands of years and though cultures have changed, children have not. They are still essentially wired with the same needs and stages of development that they have been for centuries. The most important thing a parent can do is to SLOW DOWN, walk this journey WITH your child and love them well.
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Sometimes we forget what it was like to be our kids’ ages.
The tween years are the beginning of massive amounts change in the development of body and soul. And don’t forget about HORMONES. It’s sometimes hard for them to know what to do with their regular emotions, not to mention the NEW feelings that can sometimes be rather shocking!
As parents, we can help make their journey a beautiful time of growth and maturing by loving them well.
Here are some ways to do that:
1.) Keep communication open. Ask questions without expecting certain right or wrong answers. Kids need to know they can be honest with us and as parents, we cannot really guide our children accurately if we don’t know the truth. The truth is a great jumping off point for very defining conversations.
2.) Let them know that you are on their side. Whether they need encouragement, a hug, direction, or correction try to make sure that they know your motive is love and wanting what is best for them without smothering them.
3.) Don’t let them disrespect authority (that includes you). Although this age is notorious for starting to pull away from parental authority, you are still the parent ALWAYS. That slow move toward independence can happen in healthy, respectful ways. Work with your kids to find out what that looks like in your family. Make them part of the process.
4.) Remember that children don’t typically have the ability to reason something through to a logical conclusion until approximately ages 13-15. That means that even though it seems like your child should be able to wrap his/her head around common sense, they may not be entirely ready yet. Certainly, encourage it and explain what it looks like, but be ok if the dots aren’t quite connecting yet.
5.) Keep slowly increasing responsibility. Often at this age, our kids begin to experience more privileges, but don’t let them get away without having more responsibilities to balance things out. They are far more capable than we give them credit for! We always tell our kids that with privilege comes responsibility…if they aren’t responsible, they lose their privileges. Teach them to work hard and give them the opportunity to learn the satisfaction of a job well done!
6.) Remind them of who they are. Kids this age sometimes start to feel self-conscious and unsure of themselves. Sometimes they can be really hard on themselves. Remind them of who they are. Name off the positive strong character traits that you can see are growing. These same kids can sometimes be prideful and self-important. Again, remind them of who they are… the positive traits that you see in them. By doing this you are calling them to a higher standard and that will help them grow in genuine confidence.
Lastly, ENJOY them and have fun with them! When we enjoy our kids, they feel valued. When they feel valued, they make better life choices.
Let’s love our tweens well and watch them flourish!
Durenda is the author of The Unhurried Homeschooler: A Simple, Mercifully Short Book on Homeschooling available on Amazon. Love that!
She has been a wife to “one hunk of a man” for 27 years. She’s also a mom to eight, ages 12-26 and a nana to four sweet grand babies.
She shares: I had visions of what a great mom I would be, but after 26 years of mothering, I have come to the conclusion that I will NEVER be that mom. I have found myself more broken along the way than put together. I am learning to embrace that because it really isn’t about me. I share often about my weaknesses and failures, but also about how God has miraculously used those to make our family what HE wants it to be. God is SO faithful to work through us AND sometimes in spite of us!
This was Day 20 of 30 Days of the Tween Parenting Encouragement Blog Party!
What an encouragement from a Mom who has been there and then some! I greatly value her advice and am super thankful for these 6 fantastic ways we can love our tweens well! I think I need the most help with #4. The more children we have the more I seem to expect them to be older than they are! What is your biggest struggle?