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Entries in Parenting Tweens (2)

Tuesday
Jun242014

On Mourning the Loss of Childhood

It would appear that coining the term ‘tween’ has come at a cost. It would seem that our children ages 8-12 are no longer considered kids, at least in some circles. Parents raising tweens know all too well the daily challenges they face, the embroiled battles in which they often engage as their pre-pubescent children push and pull them in every direction. At times tweens may seem to live by the credo “Rules are made to be broken.” And yet, at other moments it is clear that they take comfort in being told exactly what to do when and how.

Tweenhood is fraught with negotiating new situations. Parenthood (at least for parents of tweens) becomes about helping these little beings affirm some independence and autonomy while ensuring that they don’t grow-up too quickly.

What happened to childhood? Back when we were kids there was no such thing as tweenhood; then again there was also no such thing as cell phones, social media, and the Internet. While the World Wide Web has expanded the universe, it may have also contributed in some small way to taking away a piece of childhood.

As parents we can do our part to sustain even elongate out tween’s childhood through our words, actions and interactions with our children. It is difficult however, to prevent their exposure to a more mature universe however, unless the parents of their peers make the same commitment. Even then, nothing short of raising them in a plastic bubble or ivory tower can truly prevent tweens from exposure to the world at large.

The world has become a much smaller place for our children. As parents perhaps we are simply charged with redefining our role and reactions to our children. Instead of mourning the loss of childhood, we are better served embracing the evolution of access by encouraging our tweens to take on the outside world with our continued counsel. Parental involvement and commitment is the key to contentment for our children.

Tuesday
Mar052013

On Parenting a Tween

Image courtesy of sattva / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

To say that parenting a tween is hard work is probably an understatement. I would in fact venture to say it is at times seemingly impossible. Let’s be clear that although it is indeed a challenging task, it is one full of joy, excitement and unpredictability. One minute she seems mature beyond her years, in a flash however, she seems so young and naïve. He can seem so convincing and confident one moment, and so vulnerable and lost the next.

 

There’s a good reason this in between stage only lasts a few years. I am not sure many could handle the uncertainty, confusion and often chaos that accompanies parenting kids at this stage for too long.

The tween years are all about growing up and moving forward. Physically tweens are faced with bodies that are growing and developing quickly. It truly is a mind/body experience. Emotionally tweens are awakened to new thoughts and feelings about themselves and those around them. They are sensitive and egocentric, self-focused and unsure. One moment they can be critical and even cruel while the next they are concerned and caring. They worry about what they say, how they look, what they know and most importantly what others think about them. They negotiate their lives with simple goals such as how to avoid shame and embarrassment.

Tweens are known to be silly and sensitive. The child in them can laugh at the most mundane things while the teen in them scoffs at you with an attitude. No, you are not funny, you are embarrassing!

Yup, it can be tough to be the parent of a tween but it can also be wonderful and even weird. At moments when you least expect it the child in her reaches out for a reassuring hug or a pat on the back. What you say and think about him still matters greatly even at a time when he may seem like he is pulling away from you and moving toward his peers.

Parenting a tween may not always be easy but it is rewarding and fun. Your sweet and sour child is transforming in front of your eyes. Before you know it, he will be begging for the car keys, for now, enjoy the ride.