Remember when your tween was a baby? He or she would cry or be fussy. You would make sure the diaper did not need changing. Then you made sure your little bundle of joy was not hungry. But still…. fussy and cranky. You looked into their eyes and said “I wish you could tell me what was wrong.” Remember those days?
In a galaxy far far away…..lives a tween. Ha!! It feels like that sometimes! Before it was a fussy baby who could not communicate. Now you are reliving it all over again with your 9-11 year old. Rather than using their words, you are met with a blank stare, a shrug, a grunt, or stomping away with a huff or puff.
They have lost all form of verbal communication. You wonder, “Who is this person?” “What has happened to my sweet child?”
During this age, most tweens do not want to talk to their parents. Their hormones are raging and they feel trapped in their own bodies and minds. They experience sudden mood changes without knowing why. They think their parents are out to get them. Everything is unfair. They feel overwhelmed.
Here are a three tips to help you communicate with your tween during these challenging years:
As children metamorphose into tweens, they experience changes mentally, physically, and socially. But, they are not aware of their transformation. Actually, they think parents are the problem. Your tween may challenge your authority, motives, pout, sigh, and overreact…sounds familiar? This is time to show compassion. Yes, it can be quite a challenge for parents to do at times. But don’t take it personally and resort to anger. Take a deep breath and maintain your composure. Sometimes an immediate response is not necessary. Keep in mind this phrase of wisdom, “Choose your battles.”
Make Time to Spend with Them
Your tween may be distancing themselves by staying in their room with the door closed. But it is important that you make time to spend with them. I’m not suggesting you kick the door in and force them to come out, but you have to be crafty and devise a plan. It does not have to be hours, start with 15-30 minutes. Choose an activity to do together. Preferably something of interest to your child. This may cause you to get out of your comfort zone, but before you know it, the two of you will be engaged in conversation.
Allow Them to be Heard
You have tons of wisdom. You see where your tween is headed. You have lived it. You want them to listen as you share your experience. Then all they need to do is follow your directions to the tee and they will live happily ever after. NOT! It’s not gonna happen. Accept it. It’s part of being a tween. It’s the birth of their independence.
“So what do I do?” Listen to them. Encourage them to share their thoughts and opinions. If YOU don’t allow them to share their thoughts, opinions, and perspectives how will they learn to do so? This is not a shouting match or an argument. No one is trying to prove a point. It is communication. At first, this may be a challenge for you, but it’s also new and challenging for them. Just remember, it’s a process.