Tweens want to be able to share what's going on in their lives. Really. But they don't want the criticism, nagging, or harsh judgments that might come along with it. Say your daughter shares a story about Amy, a friend who snuck out of the house after midnight. Now is not the time to judge Amy harshly or threaten to call her parents. Talk to your daughter about the behavior. Ask "How do you feel about that?" and "What do you think the risks of that behavior might be? "
Many parents are frustrated when the "How did your day go?" question is met by a grumpy "Fine" and a stony silence. Give them some time to process the events of the day, and make yourself available, but not in the way. Try spending some active time together: ask her to help with dinner or take the dog for a walk. She may find it easier to open up when you're doing something together.
Finally, keep in mind that your relationship with your child will transition over the next few years as he grows into a young adult. Learn to enjoy his unique personality, and try to find common interests that you'll be able to share for a lifetime, whether it's cooking, playing tennis, mountain climbing or watching psychological thrillers. It's a great way to encourage communication, strengthen your relationship, and make the most of the tween years.
More Great Links
- Davis, Jeanie Lerche. "10 Parenting Tips for Raising Teenagers." WebMd. (Accessed Jan. 17, 2011)http://www.webmd.com/parenting/guide/10-parenting-tips-for-raising-teenagers.
- Fusaro, Kimberly. "10 Things Your Teenager Won't Tell you." WomansDay.com. November 18, 2010. (Accessed Jan. 14, 2011)www.womansday.com/Articles/Family-Lifestyle/10-Things-Your-Teenager-Won-t-Tell-You.html
- Heubeck, Elizabeth. "Teen Peer Pressure: Raising a Peer Pressure-Proof Child." WebMd. (Accessed Jan. 18, 2011)http://www.webmd.com/parenting/teen-abuse-cough-medicine-9/peer-pressure?print+true
- Nemours. "A Parent's Guide to Surviving the Teen Year." KidsHealth.org. (Accessed Jan. 14, 2011)http://kidshealth.org/parent/growth/growing/adolescence.html#cat10007
- Nemours. "Talking to Your Kids about Puberty." KidsHealth.org. (Accessed Jan. 14, 2011)http://kidshealth.org/parent/growth/growing/talk_about_puberty.html#cat10007.
- Ross, Julie A. How to Hug a Porcupine. New York: McGraw Hill. 2008.
- Wallis, Claudia. "What Makes Teens Tick." Time. September 26, 2008. (Accessed Jan. 17, 2011)www.timie.com/time/printout/0,8816,994126,00.html
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