"Tweens" are defined as kids aged 9-12. They are the in-betweens, not quite kids, not quite teenagers. These magical years are when kids begin to develop a true sense of themselves as they become more socially independent and are inspired to try new activities. However the emotional shifts of tween-dom can be tough on our kids. As they go through physical and emotional changes they can be highly self conscious and egotistic. They become super aware of what others might be thinking of them which adds a lot of pressure to be perfect. The hormonal changes spark a rollercoaster of feelings. Tweens have the remarkable ability to authentically feel happy, sad, resentful and excited within a few passing minutes! It can be difficult to know how support tweens, especially since they are seeking independence from parents. Here are 10 small ways we can help our tweens feel loved and supported during this special time in their lives.
10 ways to lovingly support your tween:
1. Show your love. Even when you feel alienated from them. Let them know you are there for them when they need you.
2. Set clear and reasonable behavioural expectations, but be flexible and open to revising the rules as your child becomes more responsible.
3. Encourage them to pursue their interests.
4. Teach them to honour themselves by identifying and expressing their feelings.
5. Encourage creative expression. Creativity is strongly linked to mindfulness and self awareness.
6. Teach them about the power of positive self talk.
7. Teach self compassion. They will mess up. They will say and do things they regret. They can love themselves through their imperfections.
7. Help them to define what makes them happy and comfortable. Ask them how they can incorporate these activities into thier lives.
9. When they talk to you listen intently. Keep the lines of communication open.
10. Model the communication style you expect from your tween.