A tween is the shortened version of the word “tween-ager” which is typically children between the ages of 10-14. Sadly my little baby girl falls within that age and if you have been following my blog for a while you would know I’ve written about the struggles that come with this phase quite extensively. Ranging from becoming a girl and THE TALK, to back chatting, attitudes and eye rolls, homework issues and now how to discipline a tween. Can you tell this stage is a little difficult for me to accept yet?
If you have a tween roaming around your house, you may know that using “Time-Out’s” and the old ways of punishing really don’t work anymore. Partly because they have out grown them, but also because they don’t care their tolerances are different, and what’s important to them is different. When you discipline your tween – it needs to reflect their growth. Not only are things different from when you were a child, but children think differently too. In response to all this I’ve put together some tips based on everything we have been doing that isn’t working up until now.
Shouting doesn’t work.
You can scream till you are blue in the face at this age, it just doesn’t do help. To be honest, I do remember a time in my teens where my brain would switch off when my parents started their ramblings. I guess I just didn’t expect this to happen to us this soon? While doing some research on this, I recalled vaguely some of the feelings I had when I was a teen. One of the biggest being, that my parents treated me like a child and feeling like I was constantly undermined.
What I am currently doing is try to be respectful, kind and assertive. I’m hoping this shows her a behaviour I would like her to imitate. This does requires a lot of concentration and focus though! Do your children also just strip your last nerve when you need to say the same thing over and over?
Consequences and punishment! In one ear and out the other.
So this has been my song for a while, if you don’t do this – you won’t be able to do that! It’s
partially manipulation and my tween just isn’t falling for it anymore. The things I used to use to hold over her, she doesn’t attach value to anymore. Mainly because it is taken away from her too much. That pulls at my heart, because I punish her way to much. Also in my deference I talk about the same things a lot too.
We are trying to not try to control her, the situation and just let it be. The controlling attempts have proved to cause her rebellion more than obedience. Instead, I want to create an intrinsic self-motivated little person. In order for her to control her own situations, it means letting go a little and letting her face natural consequences. Facing what happens when mom isn’t there to write a note because you forgot your clothes at home. To realise without me drilling it into her that if she wants to do well she needs to put the effort in. It’s hard – pushing and pulling. Knowing when to push and pull but more importantly when to let go, I’m trying to raise an adult after all. One that won’t always have mama around.
Don’t set the rules… on your own.
Rules are meant to be broken or so I’ve heard. I’m kidding in our family the rules and boundaries are extremely important – it helps us all function well. The problem however is that the scale in our home is always tipped to the parents. Our tween never sets any of the rules herself, and when she does want to answer, explain or reply – she shouldn’t be back chatting.
We set our first family meeting and will be doing this regularly to have her weigh in on the rules that are important to her too. Rules that we can help her understand will make her life as easy as what it makes ours. This gives her a say in her own life and makes her responsible for if she chooses to not stick to the rules.
Three is my number when it comes to tips, because heck I couldn’t remember more than three let alone try them all at the same time. If you take nothing else from this post except the word RELATIONSHIP you have the winner! Relationship speaks to each of the above points. If you have a relationship, good relationship with open communication, respect should already be part of it. Real respect – treating them as though their opinions, feelings and ideas count. Having them weigh in on decisions is already a benefit of open communication. Persuasion and forcing is not very motivating, short, instant gratification can be but isn’t successful in the long term. It also becomes so much easier to talk through disappointment and hurt instead of expressing it with anger and saying hurtful things.
So the root of all this? Focus on your relationship every. Single. Day. More love and less talk. In my next post a little bit more on the hot topic of intentional parenting which I feel makes all this tough stuff so much easier, and more meaningful AND an awesome giveaway! Subscribe up top to stay in loop for when that hits the press!