I wrote this Parent's Guide to Tween Behavior because of all the stages of child development, I found the tween years to be the most challenging. Stuck between the playful naivety of childhood and the angst and excitement-filled years of being a teenager, tweens fall into a confusing stage that leaves them acting childish one minute and too big for their britches the next.
We all have various perspectives when it comes to parenting tweens. Let's face it; there isn’t a one size fits all parenting book when it comes to raising children. Not only are all kids different, but all parents are different too.
For instance, I prefer to be more hands-off and let my kids make mistakes they can learn from rather than trying to manage every aspect of their lives. I prefer to provide some guideposts and boundaries, then let them navigate freely within them.
So, if you don't fall into a parenting style extreme (i.e. uninvolved or disciplinarian), this parent's guide to tween behavior is for you.
A Parent’s Guide to Tween Behavior
Choose Your Battles
No, I don’t always like my tween's attitude, the way she does things, or how things are handled. However, I have learned to choose my battles. I am far too lazy to fight every single thing. If I did that, I would be a raging nutcase. So, the best parenting advice I can give is to choose your battles wisely. Here are the only things I battle:
- If it will kill them
- If they are being disrespectful to other adults
- If it is illegal
Give Your Tween Freedoms
The more time my kid is out of my hair, the less I have to do. They want to go swimming at the pool; let them go. They want to go walk with friends at the park; let them go. They want to wander around the neighborhood; let them go. They want to go to the mall with friends you don’t like; let them go.
Even research suggests that giving kids more freedoms to make good decisions helps them as they get older. In fact, children learn to use their freedom, be autonomous, and manage themselves. They are able to handle mistakes, be resilient, and become happier adults.
Make a Chore List
Now, along with those new found freedoms that I give my tween, I also make them do chores. Making a chore list goes great with letting your kids have freedoms. It works like this: “Mom, can I go to the pool with Mary?” “Yes, you can go to the pool with Mary as soon as you finish all your chores on your chore list for today. Do you know how fast a kid can get stuff done?! Then, you just sit down and relax your lazy butt. Make sure to put chores you don’t want to do on that list like:
- Scrubbing the toilet
- Doing dishes
- Washing, drying, and folding laundry
- Sweeping and mopping
- Taking care of pets
Buy a Book About Puberty
I don’t want to talk to my tween about the hair in their pubic region, growing boobs, periods, and sex. However, these are all conversations that need to be discussed.
For me, it was easier to give my kids books to kickstart the conversation. I am merely there to explain whatever they don’t understand after they read the book. Here are my favorite books:
What is your parenting style? Share your perspective on parenting a tween in the comments below!