When your tween starts talking back, or yelling at you or rolling her eyes every time you start to open your mouth, you’re bound to feel shock, then maybe anger followed closely by hurt. And then you realize the reason is, she’s a tween. Life with a tween, boy or girl, can be baffling, challenging and a little scary sometimes—but it’s also rewarding. Here are some tips to help you both make it safely to the other side:
1. Maintain Your Parental Status
This is not the time to try to be your child’s friend. Despite appearances to the contrary, he’s looking to you to help him get through this confusing tween stage. “Ultimately, he’ll take his cues for how to behave from the way that you deal with a given situation.”
2. Draw Clear Lines in the Sand
You’ll need to come up with some new rules as your tween exercises his growing independence. Start by figuring out what’s most important to you, like right and wrong, honesty and grades, and let go of stuff that doesn’t matter in the long run: keeping his room neat or wearing clean socks.
Then “make sure your kid knows where the nuclear switch is,” says Jhoanna Wade, a mom of three, including a now 13-year-old, in New York City. “I’ll ignore eye-rolling or heavy sighs, but my daughter knows that it’s crossing the line to raise her voice or walk off in the middle of a conversation.”
Communicate as clearly and as calmly as you can as soon as any un-acceptable behavior begins. Try not to wait until it’s out of control and your kid is screaming that he hates you.
3. Choose a Tween-Appropriate Punishment for Infractions
When your child was a toddler or pre-schooler—or maybe even as recently as a year ago—you could pretty much get her to do what you wanted with positive reinforcement (praising her for being good, showering her with stickers) and the occasional time-out. With a tween, however, most parents find they have to bring out the big guns; very few older kids are likely to change their behavior based on, say, the promise of an ice cream cone if they can go a week without stomping around the house.
4. Reciprocate Respect
It’s essential that you remind your child that you’re a person, too. At the same time, remember that respect is a two-way street-especially when you start to get caught up in an emotionally charged argument.
5. Let Her Stew
When a “discussion” between you and your tween leads to screaming or hysterics (on the part of your kid, of course!), step back and wait for things to calm down. Encouraging your child to take a break from a situation is a good way to defuse high emotions all around.
Stay calm and say, ‘It seems like I can’t talk to you right now, so go collect yourself and let’s talk later.’ The child will always in a better frame of mind when she comes out.
6. Set Aside Some Face Time
Take your tween out for breakfast or invite him along to walk the dog, just the two of you. Don’t push an agenda, but do let your child lead the conversation, even if he just wants to chatter on about that game he’s craving for. You never know where the conversation might lead—and even if it goes nowhere, you’ll get points for listening.
Along the same vein, be ready to talk when your tween needs to. Ultimately, experts point out, your tween will continue to come to you if he knows you’re likely to listen to him without jumping in to judge unimportant details.
7. Fan the Home Fires
As much as your child wants (and needs) to begin separating from Mom and Dad, he’s still a kid and wants (and needs) to have a safety net. So provide one, as Hess did. When she felt extracurricular activities were pulling her kids too far out of the family fold, she designated Tuesdays as “Family Night, ” meaning no friends, no activities, no computers, no texting and no video games. “The entire family hangs out and cooks together and plays games, with no outside influence,” she says. “It reminds them that they’re part of a family where they’re okay just as themselves. They don’t have to be anything else.”
Found on: http://www.parenting.com/