Trust, Communication and Boundaries for Tweens

Tween years are the years when your child is at Middle School. It’s a time when the child seems to have no control over his emotional state.

It is a bewildering time for both the tween and the parents. My daughter will be in tears and does not know why and then rages the next second because my five-year-old is singing a song – this can be exasperating at the best of times.

What parents have to know is that they are not alone. There are numerous books, articles and online blogs on raising tweens. If things get out of control, you can contact the school counselor or a Mental Health Unit. Now that we have taken a couple of breaths of “in with the good and out with the bad,” we can address the reasons we must continue to strive to understand and work through the tween years.

Informing, Setting and Standing by Boundaries

We want our tween to become the teenager who comes home when we have set a curfew and lets us know where he is going to hang out. We do not want to be the parents who will be sitting at home worried not knowing where their teenager is or when they are coming home.

We take the extra time to communicate our needs and the reasons for it. We stand by our boundaries that we have set and carry through with consequences to his behavior.

We listen to the responses that our tween gives us, acknowledging and considering them. It is about working together to come to a common ground as much as possible. We have to try to meet halfway or sometimes even change our minds when the opportunity warrants it.

Trust is a Two-Way Street

Trust is a foundation that we build with our child. When you show your tween you trust him, this is a sign of respect and that respect and trust will be reciprocated. Believe me, you want the most solid foundation you can have before your child turns into a teenager.

Keeping the Lines of Communication Open

We need to be open to listen to whatever our tween puts forward. That means no yelling, or quick decisive answer but just be there with an open mind and the willingness to listen. Listen with your heart to try and understand how your tween is feeling. It makes a big difference when you acknowledge that you are hearing him.

You can then discuss the positives and negatives and come to some sort of agreement. If that is not possible, at least you took the time to listen, discuss and come to an informed decision.

When a tween becomes a teenager, maybe he will discuss the idea of getting multiple piercings with you instead of just coming home with them.

The Tween Years – an Opportunity to Reason With Your Child

He still sees you as a parent and authority figure in his life. He still cares enough to listen to you. When a tween becomes a teenager, you will hope that you have left enough of an impression on him that he will choose the right path and will give you the heads up if he chooses the harder one.

Source:

  • Ross, Julie. How to Hug a Porcupine. McGraw Hill. New York. 2008