Hey! I’m Amy, a homeschool soccer mom to 5 boys (3-14). I share these tips and ideas for connecting with your tween boy based on my own experiences as a boy mom. You know your son best. I encourage you to tweak these suggestions, if necessary, to best fit your relationship with your tween boy.
Has anyone ever told you, “The days are long, but the years are short”?
Yeah, great reminder but not always the advice you want to hear.
It’s one thing to give that advice as 20/20 hindsight. It’s another thing to have to hear it when you are deep in the trenches.
Especially when you are in the tween trenches!
Eek! Go run for your gas mask! (If you are a boy mom, you might find humor in that one;)
When you are knee deep in moods that fluctuate from sweet little boy to teenager with ‘tude, you may just want to throat punch that advice.
You need solutions. You need support. And you may even need a sweet (or something stronger!).
Are you the new parent of a tween boy, ages 8-12? Have you found yourself scratching your head in wonder as fast as those birthday candles went out on your son’s cake? Do you find yourself thinking, “What the heck has happened to my little boy? Why is he my best friend one minute and then gives a stare typically reserved for only an archnemesis?”
All will be well, my friend. I promise.
You have not lost your son to the terrifying tween years. He’s still in there. You might just need to use a few of these tips to scrape off the tweenage ‘tude.
What Is Happening to My Tween Boys?
Your tween son is going through a lot. Physically, boys ages 8-12 are typically dealing with a roller coaster ride of hormones. Think they are too young for that? Nope! Around ages 9 or 10, many boys are often contending with hormones.
Psychologically, tween boys are becoming more aware of their external surroundings. They often want to fit in and begin to look outside of their family for ideas and support. Independent skills are quickly being mastered; there’s a need to test them out.
Fortunately, all of these changes that your tween boys are going through are normal. Unfortunately, you get to deal with a young version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
How to Connect with Your Tween Boys
Connection with your tween boys is still very possible. You may feel like jumping back into bed and hiding under your comforter for a few years. Trust me. You won’t want to miss this essential part of your sons’ development!
Your tween boy is going to feel emotionally, physically, and mentally stretched like taffy. Or maybe a rubber band is a better example. He may feel stretched tight and have no idea where he is going when released. And the pain he can inflict upon impact.
Prepare yourself to bend with him. When you detect a change in his mood or behavior, give yourself a gentle reminder to calm yourself. Breathe in and out. It will be easier for all to ride out the storm when you have control over your reactions.
During those moments of calm, sit down and chat with your son. Your talk doesn’t have to be long or complicated. In fact, keeping it simple and short is probably best.
Many tween boys prefer conversation when you are parallel with them and have little to no eye contact. Sit side by side and work on an activity, like a puzzle or project. A great time to chat is in the car!
Start with small talk and keep it mild. Then, gently check in with your tween boy. Make a gentle observation like, “I noticed that you… Tell me more about that.” Another helpful conversation starter is something like “Ugh! I get so angry when I forget to … How does that make you feel?” Of course, you don’t want to sound too clinical or uptight. Just be yourself and speak like you would with a friend.
Oh, and always talk to your tween boy with respect! They may look like little boys to you but they are growing into young adults. Respect can go such a long way!
3. Secret Code or System
During one of your conversations, come up with a secret code or system to help your tween boy communicate their current mood. Agree on code words or gestures to indicate how they are doing.
You could raise your eyebrows and your son could give a thumbs up for okay or thumbs down for not so good. Thoughts can get jumbled with emotions and make it hard for your tween to express himself. Providing a secret code (like “green” for feeling fine and “red” for alert!) can be a tremendous help to your son.
4. Shared Journal
Start a journal or notebook with your tween boy. Keep the writings in a secret place, away from siblings. Writing down thoughts and feelings on paper can be therapeutic.
Your tween may feel safer and more willing to share by asking questions and expressing frustrations on paper. If your son doesn’t like writing, consider using a voice recording app or tape recorder. Another alternative is drawing pictures and symbols to convey emotions and ideas.
5. Special One-on-One Time
If at all possible, carve out special one-on-one time with your tween boy. These times can be special dates, like going for ice cream or taking a walk. Or you can stay at home and play a game.
Your son may act like he’s older and doesn’t need you as much anymore. But, he really does want special time with you. Ask him what he’d like to do and try to follow through if appropriate (like, you may not want to go rock climbing or ride a dirt bike). If his idea is a bit over the top, work on a compromise.
6. Express Interest in their Interests
Has your tween boy become obsessed with a new series of books or video game? Maybe he loves a particular sport or hobby?
Note your curiosity for his new passion. I’m not saying go overboard and fully immerse yourself in his new thing. That might not go over so well. Take it slow. Ask a few questions (during one of those calm moments) and get a feel for his reaction. Go further if he is enthusiastic but back off for now if you detect a flare of ‘tude quickly approaching.
The tween years can be challenging but also fun. Don’t let hormones and attitudes get in the way of your relationship with your son. Use these suggestions to connect with your tween boy and maybe those days won’t seem so long.
What tips to connect with tween boys would you add?
I don’t know about you but I am taking notes AND I am completely soaking up every word!
I’m thrilled to have Amy Milcic from Rock Your Homeschool joining us today! She gives us such applicable tips for parenting our tween sons by connecting with them.
I absolutely love the Shared Journal and the Secret Code ideas! My little man isn’t quite a tween yet, but I am collecting all of this information and will be praying thru it so that I am better prepared when he gets there!
Amy is a homeschooling soccer mom to 5 boys. You can find her blogging on Rock Your Homeschool about Homeschool, Help for Mom, Learning Fun and More! Make sure to stop by her site grab your copy of the 10 SECRETS to Be a FUN Homeschool Mom TODAY!
Did you Miss the other days?