Thursday, September 10, 2009

Tweeners need us

What's a "tweener" you ask? These are kids who are in the middle between childhood and full blown adolescence. They are often in the beginnings of the changes brought on by puberty. And all the emotional mood swings are starting to kick in. They are capable and want to be thought of as "grown up" but they still need lots of support and guidance. Because all kids develop at different rates, tweeners are typically between the ages of 10 and 14. This can be a very awkward time for the tweener and the adults in their lives. These are also the middle school years from 5th through 8th grade. You couldn't pay me enough to go back to those times!

Though they are very tuned into their friends and actively push adults away, they need us. Especially in these crazy times. They are pulled to make choices and decisions about many things: school work, recreational activities, and values choices. They feel peer pressure intensely and what to fit in. Media bombards them from all sides.... with music, video, games, advertising. And the messages they are getting are not always the ones we want them to focus on.

More than ever, we adults need to work to keep the channels of communication open.... and not just with rules and more rules. Yes, they need limits. But we want them to think of us as available and approachable when they need to talk, or just to do something fun together. We walk a challenging line to keep a balance between loving support and appropriate limits.

What do you do to keep the lines of communication and connection open between you and your tweener?

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