I I really don’t like to go to dentists appointments- I don’t think anyone does unless their tooth is in horrific pain! But a few weeks ago while sitting in the waiting area I couldn’t help but feel so sad for this person across the room. I could see the tiredness in her eyes as she adjusted the earbuds in her ears to take a call. Her laptop was opened on her lap but she was overwhelmed as she talked on her pink cell phone about some report she had messed up- how could that be since spending two weeks on I heard her remind the caller. “I don’t know what to do now, because I have a meeting with Mr. Taylor tomorrow and this Saturday are team finals!” Listening and listening again she was quiet and then reassuringly said just before she disconnected, “OK, mom, dad is about to pick me up- I’ll see you tomorrow after your flight gets in.”  This was a child; about 11 years old I guessed.

 Today’s kids are growing up too fast and with so much responsibility in their young lives! I don’t mean that I am old fashion, but it is true. Does this describe your child? Tweens are blending in with teenagers and their minds are no different when it comes to social and what is expected of them from teachers, peers, coaches, and their families! Yup. Tweens are 8-12 years old! Remember the days when you were that age? What has happened to cause this jog toward adulthood?

 How about PRESURE? We all had pressure as tweens. But today’s world is changing faster than ever before. Pressure from society’s changing landscape, technology, the marketplace and its cultural changes, school pressure, and parents make our tweens into what they are today. Often parents have been pressured by their own insecurities to fit-in with their culture. In essence they are still concerned what someone else thinks of them as a parent and they (without knowing in many instances) pass this stress on top of their own children!

 Children are not little grownups! Keeping our children to be children has become a struggle for many a discerning parent. It seems parents are swimming upstream with kids in tow trying to balance their children’s lives with what they know to be right along with what society drills into their children’s ears every single day!

 As a parent myself I (though middle school was quite a long time ago for mine), I think the majority of us want our kids to be kids. There are only 18 years between birth and legal adulthood. At middle schools these days it is frightening to see what I have seen. Boys and girls that dye their hair, girls with short skirts up to their underwear, short-shorts that might as well not be worn at all, drugs are in their minds and sex is happening to our middle schoolers!! And the whole time most parents yawn and really don’t want to know or think it could never happen to their child.

It seems weekly a news program reports about kids and their culture. Below is a Kansas middle school’s curriculum for sex advertisement placed in the hallway for all kids to view: (caution because this is very upsetting and is sickening to read.)

 

Some questions we might ask ourselves just to make us aware if our tweens are growing up too fast:

  • Do your tweens and even elementary children watch TV shows that are designed for adults? Do you fudge on the rules about what sort of violence your tween can watch? Where once PG was, now PG-13 is like PG. Do you take time and effort to preview or watch them with your tween?
  • Do your tweens do much reading for pleasure or do they rant “Do I have to??” when you ask them to read?

  • What sort of clothing are they wearing? Is it designed for much older teens or even not appropriate?
  • Are your tweens thinking they “know it all”, when it comes to “wonder” of how things work and the what, and why of life?
  • How about boredom? Are you giving into their impatience to be entertained all the time? Do you hear them whine, “I’m bored, what are we going to do?”
  • How often are your tweens allowed to have a computer game on? Do you monitor their time and what types of games? Do they beg for more of what teens may be playing?
  • How often do they play outside?
  • Are they involved in sports?
  • But if they are involved with sports is it so much that they have no time to play or just hang out with friends?
  • What sort of friends do they hang out with? Are their role models older than they and what sort of morals and values do they have?

Please drop me your comments below! We need to remember being a parent is not a popularity contest amongst other parents. Could our insecurities be driving the ‘jog toward adulthood’ for our tweens? There is peer pressure at every turn in the road. The road to adulthood needs to slow down to a 10 mph. Though ‘everyone else is doing it” falls across your ears daily, our children are our responsibilities given us by God. There is one thing that keeps me and kept me going all my child rearing years- the Lord God is always going before me. Though I made many a mistake with my children, I did firmly believe God’s Word to be faithful and true. Proverbs 22:6 below

“Train a child in the way he should go, and even when he is old he will not turn away from it.”

Below are some reputable and helpful websites:

http://momsoffaith.com/category/parenting/tweens/

http://tweenparenting.about.com/sitesearch.htm?

http://tweenparenting.about.com/od/socialdevelopment/a/PeerPressure.htm