So… I have a “Tween.” She even tells me shes a Tween and that she is almost a teenager. Mind you, she is only just 10 years old. But to be honest with you all, I feel like she has already hit puberty and already a serious teenager at the age of 16. Oh man the attitude is just something else. Or how she goes “UGH!” when I ask her to clean her room or put her stuff away. O.M.G., and don’t get me started on the “eye rolling” or “eye squinting.” She says she is not rolling her eyes, but clearly she is doing something with them because her facial expressions change ~ she even has her lips do something funky while shes at it LOL. I always ask myself in order to make this easier for us both, I need to learn how to connect with a Tween.
I find that it has been hard to even talk to her or even explain anything to her. It is like she doesn’t want to listen because what I say is not correct, only what she says and feels. And even if I talk calmly and try to get her to understand something, she gives me a hard time and talks back making me want to pull my hairs out.
Isn’t she supposed to be only 10 years old? Isn’t that still a kid? It should be, though apparently there may be raging hormones starting to make her go crazy. And even so puberty may be nearing for her (hopefully not for a few more years!), she acts as though she has already hit it. I seriously need to learn how to connect with a Tween because if I do, I hope it will be easier for me to deal with her and for her to be herself. So below I am sharing some pointers I found around the internet on building this connection.
How To Connect With A Tween
1. Create Small Moments of Connection
At the Tween age, connecting and making time together is more challenging than it is with younger children. They are in school most the day and when they come home, they have homework, hanging with their friends (in my case, my daughter plays games on the computer with her friends over the internet), etc. So making small moments of connection may be challenging at first, but it is do-able.
A great way to start is during dinner or right before bedtime. During this time, give her all your attention. Ask her how her day was or just about anything you think or know she will enjoy chatting about. Even a car ride home from school is a great time to talk! But make sure if they have cell phones (thankfully not mine!), they’re not on it during this time of trying to connect.
2. Change up Your Parenting Style
As much as many don’t want to hear this or don’t even want to mess with their parenting style, maybe changing it up a little for your Tween will make things easier for them to connect with you. As parents, usually we want to be in control and discipline them properly. While this is exactly how parents should be, maybe taking it down a notch can help so that the Tween isn’t getting annoyed or feeling like a little kid where they will shut you out. That’s something we don’t want.
Tweens is the age and stage they need to be listened to and we need to make the extra effort to do so. We should resist the urge to solve every problem they share with us, unless of course it is something we need to intervene in. Always let them know that they can talk to you whenever they need and that you’re always there for them.
Not only that, but it is a good idea to not yell as much or be sarcastic. This will and usually pushes them away. As they get older, they learn to start to hold grudges and that is something we do not want. It may be hard at first, but when getting upset at something they did and needing to let them know what they did was wrong, try to hold your tongue and use a more subtle talking manner (gonna be a lot of work for me LOL).
3. Keep on Showing that Affection
Yes, they may be older and less affectionate themselves (though luckily mine still is!), but keep on showing your love to them. As much as it may not seem so, this is the time they need your affection the most. Keep offering it and show them you love and care about them. This will keep them in a good place.
Usually when they are older, they feel more “embarrassed” by our affection, especially if it is in public or in front of friends. Keep the smooches and hugs for home. For public places, thumbs up or a warm smile is enough for them to see and know your affection towards them.
4. Give. Them. Space.
Yes, you heard right. They may still be kids, but they are at the age where they do need to start having their own space. Lets be real, we all sometimes need our own space to come back to sanity.
Tweens want to feel like they are older (they are) and have more independence. Allow them to have this. This will also teach them responsibility which is great. Like teens, if they feel they don’t get their own private space, they may start to rebel. Give them age-appropriate freedom such as closing their bedroom door for a set amount of time each day. Giving them limited and age-appropriate freedom will likely make them want to be responsible young adults.
5. Go on Dates with Your Tween
Set a day during the week or every couple weeks (or whatever you feel is best) to go out on a date with your Tween. Just the two of you and no one else. Dates are great ways to reconnect with someone because who doesn’t love one-on-one time? I know I do!
It can be a dinner date or even shopping date. But make sure to chat during these dates. Ask her questions such as how things are in school etc. Showing you care about what is going on in her life will make her want to share more with you, especially as she gets older.
6. Show Interest in their Passions and Nurture them
Our Tweens may like what we like or may like completely different things. Either which way, show them that what they love, you fully support. Always encourage her to follow her dreams and what she is passionate about. If they are in sports or performances etc., make an effort to attend them all. This shows them you care about what they love most and will make them feel special.
7. Limit Screen Time
Oh wow is this a hard one, especially with my Tween. As they get older, they tend to be more on tablets, computers, phones (thankfully no phone for mine!) and more. Limiting screen time is a step to connecting with your Tween because they tend to forget about their surroundings when they are on electronics.
Talk with them and let them know there will be times set for these electronics daily. They may not be happy at first, but with less electronic use comes more time for mom and Tween to connect. They’ll get over it, trust me! I as a kid never had electronics (we didn’t really have much anyways back in the day). So if I survived, so will they!
Having a Tween is definitely something to figure out as now they’re not a child and don’t want to be treated like one anymore. I know mine always tells me shes not a kid anymore. And yes, it is so weird to hear that because she will always be MY baby! Hopefully this tips for connection with Tweens will benefit us and make parenting them and relationship with them easier and better.
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