Your child is officially a tween from the ages 10 – 12. The time when they are no longer a child, but definitely not a teenager. They want to do the same things a teenager does – like wear makeup, dress a bit older and have some freedom, yet most girls at this age are not ready.
Being the parent of a tween girl transitioning into a teen can be one of the most challenging periods of parenting (or at least it feels that way). While the ride can often be bumpy, there is also a lot of fun to be had. What’s the best way to get through those difficult, emotional years?
We have some tips:
Fashion provides an outlet for your child, allowing them to express themselves. Allow your child to make their own fashion choices. You may not like the latest “neon” trend or stripes and polka dots, but remember – she is wearing the clothes – not you. Be there to guide them, but also set limits. In other words “daisy dukes” may be in but that’s where you draw the line. Pick your battles with care. You may not want to say no to the stripes and polka, dots but when your daughter is walking around with her bra straps hanging out, that may be a much more important battle for you to take on.
Allow Some Freedom
Giving your child some freedom will go a long way to helping your child feel a bit more grown up. This is a personal preference and you are the only one who can decide what your child is “allowed” to do. For some parents it may mean allowing your 10 year old to cross the street while for others it may mean allowing your 12 year old go to the mall with her friends.
Taking baby steps is probably the easiest way to giving your child freedom. Start out by allowing your daughter go to the mall with friends, but walk behind them (again for some parents this could be 10 feet, while for others it could be 3 inches).
Saying “NO” too much may lead to resentment and even rebellion. While it’s important for the parent to keep their child safe, it is also important to allow your child room to grow while doing it. The road can be bumpy, so buckle up. This leads us to the next tip…
The lines of communication need to be kept open at all times. At times this can be just as hard as giving your child freedom. Especially when they are giving you the blank stare or dare we say, the eye roll – the one that says, “you have no clue what it’s like to be me.” And we do….. to a point. We didn’t have the technology that is available to the kids of today. The one where their life can change in an instant, with the touch of a button.
Sitting down with your child and listening to them talk at length about the newest boy band may not be interesting to you, but who knows it may lead to a really great conversation about their newest crush or what’s going on during school. By listening to them you are a part of their life, without forcing your way in.
It is during both the tween and teen years that your child will test the boundaries – just like when they were toddlers and would walk over to the outlet with a huge smile on their face wanting to see what you would do. Only this time, instead of throwing themselves on the floor when you say “no”, they may rebel. While you are trying to gradually allow them to grow up, they would like to bungee jump off the bridge. Try to remain calm, consistent and stick to your beliefs and values. The tweens/teens are just as confused and anxious as you are and although they will deny that they even want anything to do with you – they will thank you at some point. Hopefully way before they have their own children.
GUEST BLOGGER: Shari Von Holten
Shari Von Holten is a founding partner of the websites The Teen Trends and Have U Heard, one of the highest ranking celebrity websites on the internet today. The Teen Trends is an exciting new website that talks about fashion, beauty, entertainment and more for teens. In addition, there is a parent’s corner with informative articles and tips to help you through the teen years. With an MBA from Hofstra and a background in Finance, Shari has become an expert in teens through first hand experience. Shari resides in New York and is married with two children.