"How was your day?" -- How Not to Talk to Your Tween

Image Gallery: Parenting What do you think? Does this dad look like he's communicating properly with his tween? See more pictures of parenting.

Studies show that the emotional development of a child at the tween stage marks the beginning of a journey toward independence, and a progression toward identifying more with a peer group than with parents. In other words, your tween may not want to share his or her innermost thoughts with you anymore, making it very difficult for you to get a conversation rolling.

But here's why it's very important for you to maintain good communication with your secretive tween. Psychologists find that when parents are aware of what their children are up to, and the children know the parents are aware, the children are less likely to engage in negative behavior like drug and alcohol abuse, delinquency, violence and teen pregnancy.

There's no "one size fits all" strategy to talk to your tween. However, there are certainly some rules of thumb and general tips on how to keep the lines of communication open. There are also some universal truths about what not to say to your tween.

Let's discuss what you shouldn't say to your tween first.