“Come on Dad; let me make up my own mind please. Thank you for your opinion, but I want to try to figure this out on my own. I need to take my time and I will be ready by the time the bus comes. Please!” Maybe you hear the same plea in the mornings before school as your tween decides what clothes to wear or which way “the hair” will look good today.
But if we could be a crumb sitting on their lunchroom cafeteria table, we might hear them ranting and raving about us; their parents. Maybe we might be more help than we realize if we could listen with a discerning ear. “I wish my parents were more……..”.
- Patient- I’m really able to get my routine done before school but I’m my own person. Even though I need a nudge to get going, please don’t nag me just know I am doing my best to get on that bus- after all I don’t want to be embarrassed by being late.
- Let me choose my friends – wish you would ask me more about my friends before you judge them. If you don’t like them it seems like you don’t trust me to choose the ‘right friends’. Trust me to make mistakes as I pick and choose – stay open minded but if you still think they are bad to me, please, I need your gentle guidance showing me sound choices and also on my side.
Summertime for tweens is a time of freedom, to re-group and take some time off from school. Close friends are always available with just a phone call away or an invite to spend the night, unless that close friend moves away. Summer has lots of fun but also brings families to relocate due to job transfers and a host of other reasons.
But our tween’s do not take their relationships casually. They take them deeply! Buddies and BFF’s are a large part of their development. Most people do not like the adjustments that come with moving, but tweens are devastated emotionally when it involves them.
No matter the personality of your child; shy or gregarious, they all have the same emotions. Having a BFF or a close buddy or two to share their ups and downs and great dreams is powerful security. Many times, family issues bring the unknown or insecurity for tweens, as they do us- so having close friendships with the same interests naturally brings security and safety emotionally. God gives them friends to be their anchor when rough times come at school, with school work, with siblings, loss of a pet, loss of a family member and a just a safe place of coping.
Helping our tweens through the storms of life such as friends moving or our own tween moving, can be a great way once again for us as parents and grandparents to show them they can lean into us and God.
One of the hardest things we as parents will do is helping our tween say good-bye. Continue reading
You know that the sweetness of her smile and the kindness of her 11 year old voice won’t last very long because you have experienced being a tween parent now for 3 years. Without skipping a beat she is suddenly screaming and ranting and freaking out about something you are oblivious to and shouting – I hate you! It’s then that you remember you’re a parent of a tween
-She says she screams because you scream–
How can we talk to our tween’s? They tell us we scream or the teachers yell- but many times and most of the time- they are just pulling some random remembrance out of a long time ago moment. You may not even remember. They feel misunderstood because their bodies, minds, and friends all seem to be changing so much of the time! Tween’s live in a state of ‘above the clouds’ or ‘disconnect’. Ask a question or make a comment- you may hear an answer or a garbled ‘uhhh-uhhh’. Living in expectation of them to answer right now will close a conversation attempt before it begins. You may hear in a week or a month the answer but no one- not even them many times, knows what’s inside their minds.
As soon as your face becomes inpatient looking or angry looking- a tween has labeled you as ‘mean’ or ‘not nice’. I try to avoid those looks that will spread across my blown mind, so instead I conditioned myself. My tone needs to be matter-of-fact as I try to establish some form of communication with tween’s. Paying attention to me is my goal so if I blow it with a face look or a tone then it’s a no-go!
What to do what to do-
To get our tween’s to stay connected or open up to us, we need to be open and honest with our own experiences, respond in positive tones when they come around and share what they are concerned with or fearful of, and emphasize how we enjoy his/her sharing. The biggie is sympathizing with his/her feelings by listening and listening again. It’s tough because so often they go on and on about stuff that doesn’t make sense to us. But belittling and brushing-off their feelings is seen as rejection which can have lasting effects. Validating is what we want even with our own spouses so why would it be less with our tweens? To validate doesn’t mean we are in agreement but we are giving them the right to share and own those feelings and emotions. Continue reading
OUR KIDS AND THEIR DECISIONS – THEY NEED HELP AND YET RESPONSIBILITY
Without thinking we make many a day, an hour, and minute by the minute. I was thinking this morning when I made the decision to get up and plant my feet on the floor, how many decisions I would make today that might be observed.
Our kids, our grand’s, our nieces and nephews, our students, neighbor kids, and perfect little strangers in the grocery isle will be watching us grown-ups as we speak and act! Wow- that is something to think about or at least it is for me. I’m not talking about huge decisions (in this particular blog) that are planned like where to put our money; 401K or savings elsewhere. It’s those everyday little ones that make a long range difference in the lives of those little eyes and ears watching me. The question I ask myself is how can I be a good model today?
Honestly I make it my priority daily (though I fail time and time again) to ask the Lord to help me make those wise and productive decisions in my own daily life at home first. My priority’s, the types of books, entertainment, hobbies, and even the way I move and act and be in my relationships need to be overshadowed with the Lord’s direction and perspective each of my days or I am a mess! I made it simple a few years back; when I choose to follow what God likes then I can’t go wrong in the eyes of my grand kids or any little eyes around my neighborhood that might meet up with me. My accountability partner I like to think is ………God. Continue reading