Good values for tweens
Changing Tween Values by Linda Sonna, Ph.D., wrote how parents “need to help tweens appreciate their bodies even though their physiques don’t match the pop ideal.” (www.netplaces.com/tweens/preserving-the-innocents)
- Do not contradict your child about his or her complaints. Empathize with them and put their feelings into perspective.
- Do not tease your tween about any part of body.
- Because they want to dress like rock stars in movies or magazines, they may dress in what parents think of as sexual. Let her choose her clothes, but keep your veto power if you disapprove.
- Explain your reasons and rules, and stick to them. Be clear if you change them.
In Time Magazine (www.newsfeed.time.com), two researchers identified the most important values that tweens emulated in tween TV shows for the past 50 years.
In 1967, value #1 was “community feeling,” (Andy Griffith & The Lucy Show).
In 1977, value #1 was “community feeling,”” image” (Laverne and Shirley & Happy Days).
In 1987, value #1 was “self-acceptance,” “community feeling”(Growing Pains & Alf).
In 1997, value #1 was “community feeling,” “ benevolence” (Sabrina the Teenage Witch & Boy Meets World).
In 2007, value #1 was “fame,” “achievement” (American Idol & Hannah Montana).
Today, the desire for fame and disregard for community feeling reflects the exposure to the online social lives, cell phones and i-pads of tweens. The social media allows tweens to be repeatedly exposed to fame.
A few years ago, Michael Josephson of Los Angeles, speaker and creator of www.whatwillmatter.com and www.charactercounts.com, had feedback from an eight-grade teacher he worked with in Corona, California. The teacher reported that his thirteen-year-old students gained a great deal about improving their values. Among the things they said they learned were:
- Work comes first.
- Being popular isn’t everything.
- It is better to be pretty on the inside that just the outside.
- Not everything in life is fair.
- All people want someone to listen to them.
- Girls fight with friends, but hardly ever with enemies.
- Building a friendship takes a long time but destroying it can only take a millisecond.
- Imagination is as important as knowledge.
- To say no to someone is not wrong.
- Follow yourself, not others.
- We get stronger when we do something hard for us.
- You are only responsible for yourself.
- Everybody should get a second chance.
- Teenagers do dumb things.
- If you respect elders, they will respect you.
- Words hurt more than sticks and stones.
- When you come to a fork in the road, ask for help.
- The easy way is not the best way.
Being a parent of a tween is a tough task, but if you have faith in them and build a good foundation of values, they will hopefully emerge as wise and respectful adults. Let them make some mistakes along the way, because without overcoming failure, they will not learn the way to success.