You finish up your conversation with the shop clerk and reach for your 10-year-old's hand. He yanks it out of your grasp and whines, "Mom, you're embarrassing me!" In your mind, you've acted perfectly normal. You've had a conversation, and now you want to take your boy's hand. What happened? Oh, that's right. Your son's a tween.
Ah, the tween years. One day your children love being with you, the next they're embarrassed because you talked to a woman in a shop. What's happening to your child, and why are you suddenly the bad guy?
If you've got an 8- to 12-year old, you've got a tween. Once thought to be not as crucial as early development or adolescence, this period is actually a pretty important time in your child's life. During the tween years, your child is starting to create his own identity. He's forging his own friendships, and he's starting to learn that maybe parents don't have the answers for everything.
Now that your child is growing older, he doesn't want to be treated like a baby. This can be a difficult transition not only for your child, but also for you. You're used to taking care of all of his needs, but now that he's able to do more things on his own, he wants to take control of his life. He also still wants your love and attention, and it can be a struggle for him to figure out how to balance the two.
Beyond learning how to express themselves emotionally, tweens are also learning more challenging things at school and starting to work on more involved projects that require learning time management. Taking on tougher homework may be a difficult struggle for many tweens.
As the onset of puberty hits, ever-changing hormones that can cause abrupt changes in behavior might be driving you crazy, and it's tough to keep in mind that your tween is also trying to figure out what is happening to his body, too. Your child may feel embarrassed by these changes and decide to take any frustrations out on you.
Let's take a look at your behavior and see what you can do to help your child through this transitional stage.