Parenting a Tweenager, 5 actionable tips!

I've worked with many parents who have struggled with parenting a tweenager. As a mom myself, it’s also something that I’ve dealt with personally! 

Based on my experience, here are three common challenges parents face:

1.-Communication: One of the biggest struggles parents face when parenting a tweenager is communication. Tweens are going through a lot of changes, and they may not always want to share their thoughts and feelings with their parents. It can be difficult for parents to know how to approach their tween and get them to open up without making them feel pressured or judged.

2.- Setting Boundaries: Tweens are in a phase of their life where they are testing boundaries and exploring their independence. Parents may find it challenging to set boundaries and enforce rules without causing conflicts with their tween. It's important for parents to find a balance between being firm and flexible, so they can guide their tween without smothering their growth.

3.- Dealing with Emotional Rollercoasters: Tweens are often on an emotional rollercoaster as they navigate the changes and challenges of adolescence. As a result, parents may find it challenging to deal with their tween's mood swings and intense emotions. It can be hard for parents to know when to step in and offer support or when to give their tween space to work through their emotions on their own.

5 Tips for overcoming these challenges! 

1.- Set boundaries and stick to them.

Tweens crave independence and may push back against rules and boundaries. However, setting clear boundaries and expectations is important for their safety and wellbeing. Make sure your tween knows what is expected of them and the consequences if they don't follow through. When they test the boundaries (and they will!), stay firm and consistent.

2.- Foster open communication.

Tweens may start to pull away from their parents and become more secretive. However, it's important to maintain open communication with your tween. Make time to talk with them regularly and listen to what they have to say. Ask open-ended questions and show genuine interest in their life. When they feel heard and respected, they are more likely to come to you when they need help or advice. If they aren’t open for talking, try communicating by text, email, or through a journal. Especially when kiddos or parents are easily triggered, moving the conversations to written communication is a great way to take out the emotion and reduce the chance of either or both of you from being emotionally triggered. Also, if you feel yourself getting upset, stop talking and revisit when you feel more calm. Easier said than done, but worth it! 

3.- Encourage healthy habits.

Tweens are at a pivotal age where they are forming lifelong habits. Encourage healthy habits such as regular exercise, healthy eating, and good sleep hygiene. Set a good example by modeling these behaviors yourself. Limit screen time and encourage other activities such as reading, sports, or creative hobbies.

4.- Build their self-esteem.

Tweens are navigating the difficult transition from childhood to adolescence, which can be a challenging time for their self-esteem. Encourage their interests and hobbies and praise their efforts and accomplishments. Help them build resilience by teaching them to bounce back from setbacks and failures. Remind them that mistakes are a natural part of learning and growth.

5.- Be there for them.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, be there for your tween. Show them that you love and support them, even when they make mistakes or test your patience. Spend quality time together and create opportunities for fun and laughter. Remember, parenting a tweenager can be tough, but with patience, love, and these tips, you can help your tween navigate this exciting but challenging time in their life.