Whether you are a dance mom, hockey dad, or a baseball family, keeping up with your tweens commitments can be challenging.
It is not uncommon for tweens to try out many different activities. They are older and more aware of the world around them.
Tweenhood is when the journey to identify themselves as unique individuals begins. It is in the business of this quest that tweens try out different roles. This can translate into a little dabbling in many diverse areas and activities.
As a parent of a tween this can result in a lot of running around in many different directions. It can actually get quite exhausting. It is at these times when you feel fatigued and frustrated that you long for the day your tween can drive, but only for a moment. After all, you are dealing with enough stress already!
A few things you should keep in mind as your tween reaches out to grab brass rings in what feels like a hundred directions:
1.) You can and should say 'no' to some things. Whether you are feeling the pull of financial and/or time constraints, be realistic.
2.) Tweens have a tendency to flit from one fancy to the next. Her lack of maturity may mean she doesn't grasp that it is considerate to keep commitments. If for example, she decides to join a team, it is important to impress upon her the idea that her decision to quit would have an impact on others. Remember, your tween is capable of usung perspective taking, although it may not be her natural inclination.
3.) At the same time he is pursuing new interests; it is not uncommon for your tween to begin to narrow his focus. This may mean he decides to give up an activity in which he has been engaged for years. As a parent this may feel disconcerting, especially if you have invested a lot of time and money. Remember however, this is probably because you steered him toward this pastime, when he started he was probably too young to know what he wanted. If he chooses to give up an activity at which he is particularly gifted, this can be quite difficult to swallow. It is certainly worth talking to him about it however, in the end, remember, this is his life and therefore should be his choice.
4.) Kids tend to keep pursuing the activities at which they feel most competent. Why she feels more competent in one area versus another may depend on many factors. Some of these factors may be more evident than others. She may for example, feel most competent at the activity at which she enjoys the other participants. This may not be the activity at which you think she does best but it is important that she make her own choice.
5.) Sometimes tweens lose interest when the activity no longer feels fun. If your son is a star athlete but feels overwhelmed by the stress of the competition for example, he may want to throw the towel in. As a parent this can be difficult to accept especially if he shows real promise. It does not have to be an all or nothing proposition; perhaps there is a middle ground. He could for example, join a less competitive team. Talk it out with him. Be mindful of what he has to say; don’t just hear him, listen.
Being the parent of an active tween can be both exciting and exhausting. The hardest task is often helping your tween to strike the balance between happily active and overbooked.
As your tween looks to expand his world through experience, trying to keep up and keep him in check can indeed be a daunting task at times.. In time, your tween will pinpoint his passions; until then he may investigate many interests. Your support and guidance in helping him try out new activities and taking on new challenges is indeed invaluable.