How do you cope when your usually inquisitive, sweet and loving 10 year old child suggests that you go somewhere you only wish on your worst enemy? It’s complicated, difficult and stressful, but dealing with your tween as they go through the tumultuous process of puberty is a necessary part of the child-rearing puzzle.
As described by Teen Growth.com’s April 2010 Q&A on the effects human hormones have on your child’s emotional state, parents should be first aware of what to expect during this time. For one, these chaotic hormonal changes affect male and female tweens differently.
“Your daughter may already have or will soon experience their first menstrual cycle and, as many of us are well are, mood swings are inevitable,” notes Andrea Howick, experienced mother of three and co-founder of WhereParentsTalk.com. “Meanwhile, your sons will also go through mood swings and even might start feeling the first, frustrating hints of a sex drive.”
In addition, the modern world presents many new stresses for your preteen to deal with. From schoolyard peer pressure, keeping up with homework, and increased exposure to commercial advertising that only adds to the already present pressures instilled by friends, your tween has way too many reasons to feel anxious and tense.
So how can you help your child cope with their daily stresses and changing bodies and minds – all the while also calming your own nerves? Fellow WhereParentsTalk.com and equally experienced mother of three, Lianne Castelino, says that being aware and patient with your tween is the most effective method of getting through this short (but not sweet) phase of their life.
“Simply being aware and opening your eyes to your tween’s changing attitude can prevent additional stress,” explains Lianne. “Responding to their attitude and questionable judgement by being understanding and giving them some extra time and care will show them that you’re not belittling their frustration and anger and you’ll remind them that your love and acceptance can still help them get through challenging situations.”
Here are Lianne and Andrea’s top tips for getting through tween angst:
Don’t be surprised by your tween’s moody attitude
Remember that puberty will bring out any potential anxiety and unpredictability your child has. Knowing that they are being normal helps you keep your cool even when you’re on the verge of losing it while dealing with an insolent tween.
Help your tween carve out their own path and make good decisions
Your tween is going to try to flex their muscles and want to make their own choices – negating your decisions any chance they get. Instead of getting frustrated that your word is no longer as easily accepted as before, be happy that your child is starting to stand on their own two feet, calmly coach through decision-making processes, and even allow them more independence where appropriate.
Know the difference between mood swings and serious behavioural problems
Tweens aren’t moody all the time – you’ll still get the pleasure of hanging out with that sweet kid you once knew. So, remember that out of control behaviour is beyond the rather disrespectful tween offensiveness you should expect. Put in place stricter rules and don’t be afraid to get some help from a professional or your fellow parents at WhereParentsTalk.com.