How to Make Your Tween Think You're Cool

Image Gallery: Parenting This tween secretly thinks her mother is pretty cool. See more pictures of parenting.
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Most tweens will tell you it's impossible for them to ever think of parents as cool. Perish the thought! But the truth is many kids actually do think their parents are pretty cool, even if they'd rather die than admit it. So how do you achieve cool status without losing authority over your child?

Child psychologists point out that it's not a good idea to try to be your kid's BFF. In a normal parent/child relationship, there's a differentiation in power, and if you bridge that gap, you're removing natural boundaries. This may sound like a positive thing, but it's really not. Think about it. Do you really need to know every single thought that crosses your tween's mind? Be careful what you wish for. Instead, strive for a harmonious balance of authority and, importantly, openness.

Being in touch with your child and knowing that he or she is willing to share with you not only makes you "cool," it makes you a better parent. When you're in touch with your tween's life -- her likes and dislikes, his best friends, her favorite hangout -- you can feel safe knowing what your child is up to in his or her spare time. (And it's pretty nice feeling like he or she secretly thinks you're awesome!)

So what can you do to win cool points with your tween? Find out more on the next page.