A pre teen or pre-teenager is a person 12 and under. Usually, between the ages of 9-12, your child will experience changes in physical, cognitive, emotional, and social relationships. Among the changes, you will find that from being willing to share secrets with you, your children will be more distant from their parents.
What parents need to understand is that their child needs you more than ever, because the strong parent-child relationship is now the foundation for a much healthier adulthood. But that won’t be easy if you don’t understand and respect your child’s need for self-control in their development process.
Here are 9 parenting tips for you to better understand this change process for your pre teen children, understand how to teach your teenage child more effectively and successfully:
Don’t be too judgmental
No one likes to be judged. Pre teen is the same. According to Dr. Steiner-Adair, at this age, your kids are observing whether their parents are judgmental or not. They can look at how you react to a video on YouTube, an image on Facebook, or how you comment on the actions of those around you.
Sometimes your overreaction (both positive and negative) is what makes children feel awkward and refuse to share their lives with their parents for fear that you will judge too much.
Be empathetic when they want to be independent
It is normal for children at this age to “turn away” from their parents and increasingly rely on their friends. Don’t force your tween to tell you any secrets they don’t want to tell you. Also, do not assume that the child’s failure to speak is an act of opposition to their parents.
This is the time when kids begin to have secrets, and many parents who are impatient and have a low tolerance for this change will always be over-curious to know all about their life. It is counterproductive and even pushes them away from you.
Let your pre teen child have personal space
According to research, tween tends to be less open-minded and difficult to talk with. You need to spend time talking to your children every week, focusing on sharing and talking with your children. Do not let work distract you.
At that time, you not only improve your relationship with your child, but also teach your child skills to communicate with the people around you, and this skill is very important for them in the future. Your child can completely avoid it when parents want to talk to them, which is normal and easy to understand, but you should patiently persuade your child to both spend time together and get to know each other better.
Children can start to try cannabis and alcohol as early as 9 or 10 years old. In this age, gender development is a very important part, so these are crucial years for you to build a strong foundation and provide children with information relevant to gender development. Talk to your child about sex without giving them pressure that this is a serious problem.
According to experts, pre teen will want to learn about sex through their friends. So, instead of giving your child too much information, gently talk about the negative effects of pornography on children and young people. You should also buy books on sex education for your child, which is also a way for your children to reach out to their parents with related questions.
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Slowly, don’t rush
As you constantly ask about your child’s school and their personal life, your child will feel suffocated.
Silence is also a solution. Sometimes tween just needs someone to listen, not necessarily need you or anyone else to help them solve their problem. Therefore, parents should listen more than speak out. When you do listen, your children will feel more secure sharing with their parents and able to tell more about their lives.
Watch the shows they like
Starting from middle school, you should watch the shows your pre teen enjoys in a curious and inquisitive way. This will be a way to connect and discuss topics relevant to your child’s real life, such as sexual harassment. And don’t forget the first tip: Don’t be too judgmental about the content your pre teen watches.
Balance between overreaction and dont-care behavior
A common situation is when your child is not invited to a friend’s party, the parents tend to call the parents of the other children to ask why they didn’t invite your child or keep talking to your child about not being invited. Don’t make things worse. On the other hand, don’t be a dont-care parent, your children will feel distant and disinterested.
Many parents, when they find out that their pre teen child is drinking alcohol while partying with friends, often just scolding them. When you don’t point out to your child this is a no-no and tell them the consequences of drinking at a young age, your child will think it’s okay to drink alcohol.
Tween will think that just making it a secret from parents, everything will be okay. From alcohol, they will most likely switch to testing stimulants like marijuana, ecstasy.
Encourage pre teen girls to play sports
A daughter’s self-esteem peaks at the age of 9 and then slowly declines. However, research shows that pre teen girls who play sports with their teammates have higher self-esteem, better school performance, and have fewer problems with body-shaming.
Anea Bogue, who founded the REALgirl women’s confidence-building program, says there is a correlation between pre teen girls playing team sports and their level of self-esteem. When they interact with their teammates and give their best effort for the team, they will easily build self-confidence, on the contrary, other girls rely on boys to seek respect.
Cultivate feelings for pre teen boys
Teenage boys face other challenges such as the cultural stereotype that boys who express emotions, such as sad or crying, are weak.
Parents should tell their son that it is perfectly okay for a son to cry when suddenly being sensitive, or feel helpless to certain things. Let your son know that it’s not a bad thing to be sensitive to a guy, for example, it helps when your son has a girlfriend and is more comfortable with his girlfriend.
It can be very difficult to connect with your kids when they’re in their tween. However, always try to sympathize and respect your child’s developmental space. If you succeed in building trust with your teen during puberty, you will become a safe place for your child to look for until whatever happens in the new world they are exploring. Then, you will also set the stage for healthier adolescence for your child and your relationship with you.
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