A very good friend of mine once said to me, “Never bring your ego to the table while dealing with a kid. Your ego and the kids stubbornness will end up hurting you both.”
As my son turned eleven recently, I need this advice more than ever.
A few years shy of teenage, a tween. Still a child hankering to be an adult. We can all agree that being a teenager is not easy, never was for us too. With the advent of time pre-teens are the new teengars and in many aspects worse.
This said let’s talk about the ways to deal with tweens. Now this is no advice, I would just like to discuss what I have been able to establish through my endless research and patience, all the while trying to keep my sanity intact.
TWEENS ARE JUST KIDS:
How many times have we all wondered dealing with a 10-11 year old, “Who is this person? What happened to my sweet kid?”. You are not alone in this momentary heartbreak.
However difficult it may sound but we can plough through this stage by remembering “Tweens are just kids”.
Tweens are Kids who are growing up and trying very hard to come to terms with the changes within and around them.
They don’t want to leave the secure world of their childhood all the while trying to claim their own personal space in the world.
Tweens as confused and overwhelmed as us, charting into unknown waters need all the understanding they can get.
Due to the changing hormones they have discovered mood swings, anger, resentment and grudges but are still a gullible bunch. A hug and some love gets them right back on track.
LET THEM GET ANGRY:
Children are expected to be docile, happy and pleasing all the time. Often a child’s anger is interpreted as misbehavior.
Acting up might be a call for help. Tweens can get really aggressive but to react to their provocation behavior would be the worst kind of approach.
Overtime I have worked out to not give any equal and opposite reaction.
These fast growing individuals are completely entitled to anger. Let it pass and then analyze the behavior, talk it over. You will be amazed at the energy an angry confrontation drains.
Though this might be better said than done, keeping calm in the face of a raging pre teen is no easy task.
Remember they are not doing this to spite you, dealing with emotional and physical changes these outbursts might just be their way of dealing with the turbulence within.
Being an adult there are times when I feel intimidated by an eleven year old. Gone are the days when I could just get anything done without the complications of argument and reasoning.
Tweens are a generation of people who want to do things their way but are yet to acquire the confidence it requires. They discover rebellion and are eager to try it.
What they need is appreciation of their self. Let’s make the effort to tell them how loved and appreciated they are. We assume it’s a given, they know, but sometimes they need reassurance.
A very important aspect of growing up happy is a bond of trust. Respecting the small decisions and trusting them to find their ground is a confidence booster.
When a tween accepts that any criticism you offer is to help them make better choices, it will perpetuate that much needed harmony in your life.
Appreciate them for what they are without the peer pressure of comparisons.
LISTEN TO THEM:
Listening is a fine art. As a parent of a tween I have learned to listen to what is not being said. Developed the art to read between the lines.
Trying to decipher the anger of a tween is no easy task. It takes a humongous effort but just take a pause and reflect on it.
Encourage a judgment free dialogue with your child. Just listen to their opinions, a different point of view can be a fresh take on any old subject.
Another aspect of the tween world is the interpretation of their “problems”. Never disregard their issues, what might be a non-issue to an adult might have the weight of the world for a tween.
Tweens need to understand you are on their team. Looking forward to applauding their accomplishments and to lend them a helping hand when they falter.
Be their confidante, a first stop for all their issues and problems.
Children are emotionally very vulnerable at this age and need the assurance that you will love them despite their faults. They are bound to make mistakes but the point is to kearn from tgem and move on.
There is no rulebook about how to deal with tweens and teenagers. The thing that will see you through is patience in abundance. Unconditional love, nearly zero ego and the ability to let go.
We all agree it is difficult and at times takes a mammoth effort to not lash back. There have been instances so frustrating nearly reducing me to tears.
No matter how vehemently we deny at some or the other time we have all been guilty of a short fuse or of over judgement, with our fast growing kids.
Tweens an age that hurtles new things at us everyday can only be dealt with the time old potion of love.
Our children are those tiny versions of ourselves who make us revisit our own past, they compel us to become better versions of ourselves.
In my case a very patient and slightly abridged version of myself.
All I can say is I’m doing it and so can you. Carry a baby picture of them around, look at it, it helps you remember how much you love them. You win some, you loose some.
So, how do you deal with your Tweens and teenagers? Do share your point of view. Let’s help each other. Meanwhile share this post with your friends.