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Understanding Tween Pitfalls and Social Pressures
Social pressures are huge for
tweens: puberty happens along with other big changes, like the beginning of
high school. As a parent, you need to be there for your growing children and
help them navigate the changes they are facing. Here are a few tricks to
counteract tween pitfalls and social pressures.
It’s important to be an open-minded parent and really listen to your children. You have to make sure they know that you are there for them and you won't be judging them if they talk to you about an issue.
Talking to other parents and developing relationships with them is another good way to understand what your child is going through. You can also talk to your children's friends and ask questions. Not only does caring about their friends make you seem like a good parent in your child's eyes, it is also an opportunity to be interested in people that will likely be there for a few years, if not longer.
Be a role model
If you are an active and healthy parent, your children will want to be too. Doing healthy activities as a family, whether it is going ice skating or cooking a healthy dinner together will strengthen your bond and keep your child in a happy place.
Having conversations with your children about what they like and don't like in the media, particularly the Internet, and making them think critically about their consumption can have positive effects. It can make them realize the effects of media and how things can be misconstrued.
While it is important to let your child do their own thing, it is also important that you monitor their time spent on devices so they know that there is a life outside of the screen. Shutting down the computer at night is also an opportunity to read a book.
Puberty can be an awkward time because the body is changing in ways that tweens don't always understand. Your tween will probably look at their reflection in the mirror more often. It is important to be reassuring to your child that the changes their bodies are going through are normal. Being open about those changes and having conversations about topics like periods or body hair can ease their anxiety.
Bullying is a tough one. While your tween may be under the impression that the bully is right about hating them, usually the bully is mean in order to make themselves feel more important. Be open to your child about the seriousness of bullying and listen to their concerns. Remind your child that it is important to stick with good friends who appreciate them for who they are.
Chances are, your tween wants to fit in, and that is often done by dressing like their peers and doing the same activities. This can cause your tween to lose part of their personality in the process. Encouraging your child to do a group activity that is positive and they enjoy doing is a good way to fit in while developing positive personality traits.
Your child will most likely want to follow his friends in their outings. This is where your parenting is important: you need to know your children's friends, where he is going and when he is coming home. Through tween and teenage years, it is important to gradually give your child more freedom, and not to be too strict or give a lot of freedom all at once. This will allow your child to gradually gain their independence and know that you care about them.
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