Tweens into teens: Is it my imagination or is the transformation from tween to teen seems to happen overnight? In an article from Metroparent (www.metroparent.com) called How to Deal with Dramatic Teens, Ms. Roberts tells us that “Academy-Award winning performances” are typical of adolescents. They do not have to be taken for granted, however. Parents can calmly explain that drama does not help communication. Suggest going to another room and resist responding.
Dr. Laura Markham (www.ahaparenting.com) in Staying Close to Your Tween Daughter describes the suddenly volatile behavior that turns the “sweet little girli into tantrumming.” Dr. Markham tells us, “Twelve year old girls can be moody, over-dramatizing, self-centered, focused almost solely on friends, close-mouthed, surly, back-talking and condescending to parents.” She also describes the other side of them as being delightful and affectionate and a cross between toddlers and teens.
To buffer the drama, parents need to be willing to change, to keep the focus off discipline and on the relationship, to schedule quality time, and cultivate empathy for your preteen.
Girls on the brink of becoming teenagers may have great anxiety about adolescence. They need lots of sleep, and they are constantly fighting for more independence.
www.webmd.com has an article called 5 Mistakes Parents Make With Teens and Tweens by Joanne Barker. Tweens, she says, will test our patience, but the key is knowing what efforts to avoid.
- Don’t expect the worst. In other words, just because they are becoming teenagers does not mean they will turn out bad.
- Don’t read too many parenting books. Consult them for advice, but ultimately rely on your own instincts and what is best for your family.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff.
- Don’t ignore the big stuff.
- Too much or too little discipline. Fine balance between obedience and freedom.
How to be Drama Free (Tween Girls) (www.wikihow.com) gives advice you can give to your tween. Be nice and ignore the haters. Find a family member or close friend to talk to about them. Don’t gossip, and if you need to talk about a bully don’t do it where they can hear you. Wear appropriate clothes, according to parents or school rules. Don’t curse. If you use Facebook, keep your personal problems off of it. Listen to your parents/guardians. Stay away from drugs and alcohol. Enjoy being young.
Michael Josephson, here in Los Angeles, always has good advice and has workshops on parenting. You can reach his organization at www.charactercounts.com.
There are many avenues open to you as parents, but one of the most important points to consider is empathy for your child. You were once an adolescent. You know how difficult that transition is to being a teenager. Give them your attention and love, and hopefully, the rest will take care of itself.