Victoria Peace Green

Children's Author * Freelance Writer

Category: Tween peer pressure

OUR TWEENS ARE BEGINNING A NEW YEAR!

Beginning a new school is pretty tough for any of our children, but when out tween begins middle school even the more confident child can have some frustrations and anxieties. How best can they begin to feel a part of the new community of middle school?

Clubs! Tween’s need their group or their pack! Clubs are a wonderful answer to feeling included and assured of friends!

FUN- Just because it is school doesn’t mean it can’t be fun. Learning about their talents and discovering (perhaps for the first time) new interests brings both shy and extroverted tweens to new and exciting levels. Let’s encourage our child to pursue what he/she knows they are talented in but also to expand on new interests. There are typical clubs like art, music, yearbook, band or orchestra and all just waiting to bring fresh looks into what they already know. Less traditional are scrapbooking, green club, leadership club, math, building clubs, technology, and many other clubs.

NOT BORING BUT.. SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT- It’s not just about ABC’s or math like in elementary school. Now school community becomes a variety and variety makes a difference in how our tween views learning. Without the school clubs there would be no extracurricular plays, art shows, technology contests, yearbooks to collect, school leaders, competitions of all sorts and the list keeps on growing.

NO WASTE OF TIME– Making friends for most middle school children is on the top two of their list of: How Best to Survive School! Schools are now very much aware of the ‘bully’ and are proactive in seeing the bully’s demise. Clubs are a great tool and guard against bullying. It’s not a waste of time when your child comes home with smiles and good attitude because of the new like-minded friends they met in their club. Clubs can be a shot in the arm for your tween’s attitude even in their school work. Clubs can and do make a whole lot of difference!

LEARNING COMMITMENT/RESPONSIBILITY– Middle school clubs are not going to demand a lot of your child’s time so that they have no time- but they will require meetings and some do programs/events. This is all good. Your child’s peers can teach commitment and responsibility in a realistic way!  Working with their peer group helps children to get along and to be a team member- a lot like real life, right?! They will learn social etiquette even when dealing with kids they do not especially like as well as learning to work with sudden challenges. So as a parent we need to make sure we talk over with our child, the time elements and the load of responsibility that may come along with it.

PAVES THE WAY INTO THE HIGH SCHOOL- Just like adults need resumes for a good position, our kids need a record on their middle school record that says: “This child was in this club and that club” The gifts/talents they discover they process in middle school will be greatly enhanced and better protected as they come into the High School with interests already in tow.

For more ideas:

http://www.ehow.com/how_7720895_join-school-club.html

ARE YOUR TWEENS ACTING MORE LIKE TEENAGERS THAN KIDS?

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. Continue reading

WHAT ROLE MODELS DO YOUR KIDS HAVE?

Children imitate behavior.It’s that easy. Most of us can remember the few adults in our lives which had great influence. Remember the not-so- good ones? Some of those role models many of us are still trying to forget! But healthy role models challenged us and encouraged us like no one else. We wanted to be like them. They helped us come to places of great decision- the ones that affected the outcome of our lives.

Of course the most obvious first role models for any child are us parents and then grandparents, aunts, uncles, older cousins and of course teachers! What is healthy in modeling behavior? If we smoke, drink, swear, gossip, or just sit around and watch TV- it’s very likely our kids will do the same. We can preach all about not doing those things but if we do them- well, I remember my mother would advise me but if I saw her do what was the opposite or be a hypocrite- then all was lost! Continue reading

ONE MINUTE ALL IS CALM AND THE NEXT- ‘I HATE YOU!’

 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

THE LEAFLESS TREE: IT ISN’T DEAD BUT SEEMS TO BE LANGUISHING

            Outside my office window is a giant but very cold-bare crape myrtle. The birds peer into my window as they huddle almost as one life-form on its branches. That tree which was once their hiding place, security from predators, and shelter from the rain, has become unable to do its job any more. The birds don’t wonder like I use to as a kid; is that tree ever going to have leaves again or is it dead?

            Even now as an adult and though I know better, the tree appears as though it is lifeless, just not thriving, or for a better word, languishing. Once it had such vibrancy and purpose as it housed the birds and was admired constantly last spring, summer, and a tad of autumn from my office. I can’t help but see a parallel between that languishing tree and tweens; those kids I love so much. Tween’s find it hard many times to share what hurts, so they often hide or try to under their pretend smiles. Nature has so often, the answers to most of life’s questions. I love how Jesus built the lessons he wanted people to grasp about life and the state of our souls, all around nature. How many of those parables do just that? They make us to wonder about ourselves and seek out those answers. Continue reading

WHAT IN THE WORLD IS MY TWEEN ASKING ME?

           The other day I was in a huge hurry so I thought I’d save time in one of those 15 or less check outs at the grocery store. But my impatience suddenly calmed down when I heard two moms in front of me sharing. One mom said her 12 year old wanted to know what she (her mom) would do if she got pregnant! The friend wasn’t shocked; she just came back with her own experience last week. She laughed and then got real serious- looking, then told her friend that her 11 year old daughter was sick and tired of us (her mom and dad) making her do her homework before she was allowed  to talk to her friends on her cell phone.

Not sure about you, but cell phones in an 11 year olds hands – might be a recipe for a “disconnect” between daughter and mom (?) These days tweens are not what they were in “those days”- the mom’s days. If we can just remember “those days” when we were tween’s and what came out of our wild and crazy minds and mouths!  But these days, tween’s know all about sex, drugs, pornography, alcohol, and all the rest because of the media of TV and all the techie stuff parents allow their kids to own which connects them to the internet! These two moms are about to lose control of parenting their sons and daughters unless they stay savvy and connected with them on a daily basis. Continue reading

FEARS AND HOW THEY TAKE CONTROL OF OUR PRE-TEENS?

Our earliest painful memories in childhood often influence the way we look at injustices and pain as adults.  When I was 10 years old, my dog became lost. In those days, our pets roamed the neighborhoods so we had a great expanse to cover in order to find her. All I could do or think about was to find our dog.  We looked in all the familiar places that she would like to sleep and places she would retreat to when too many of us kids were around!  But all our efforts brought empty and extremely sad results.

That feeling I carried for many years. I kept thinking of how scared and afraid my dog must have been. Now, as a seasoned adult that same emotion resurfaces when I hear about lost children, taken children or rejected children. Psychologists have discovered that one of a tween’s greatest fears is: “What if I do not find friends; what if no one likes me. It is like I would be lost.” That is a huge red flag for those of us with tween’s. Just think of how we can be used of God to help our child make and keep friends; friends that he/she will remember with good memories. Continue reading

A NEW SCHOOL YEAR BEGINS – MIXED EMOTIONS

August brings the end of summer vacation. And with the end of summer brings mixed emotions that begin to plague kids. Some kids can hardly wait to pick out their back-pack and a few new clothes and wait for that school bell to chime (or buzz in some cases!). However, there other kids that begin to bite their nails, get stomach aches, act up, and just plain become anxious about the thought of school. 

A bullying  experience might be part of the problem-  even one instance can change a child from a extrovert to introvert. And from a confident child to an anxious/insecure child.

Many parents might see their anxious / nervous child as a bewildering challenge. They have no idea in many cases that a a bullying experience even occurred. But no matter the reason for this change in behaviors; from being confident to being worried and upset,  moms and dads have a great opportunity to comfort and reassure their child. Continue reading