Protect Privacy, but Squash Secrecy
The closer your tween gets to the teenage years, the greater his or her need will be for privacy. He'll be less open about his day at school, or she'll spend more time behind closed doors chatting with her friends. In day-to-day life, staying abreast of your tween's life means communicating effectively -- which, of course, is one of those things that is never as easy as it sounds. In her book "Tweens," Andrea Clifford-Poston suggests you do this by relating stories (realistic and maybe even embarrassing) of your own tweenhood, simply pointing out that you've noticed something has been troubling him or her, or suggesting they talk to another trusted adult (your sister always wants to pull the cool aunt card, so don't be afraid to put her to work on this).