Parenting Blog

8 Things You Need to Know About Raising Tweens

8-Things-About-Raising-Tweens

The internet and the calendar both tell me I’ve got one, so here are my 8 things you need to know about raising a tween.

1) Silence is Golden…Sometimes

Listen dad, I get it, you’re a fixer. Same here. But your tween is going to go through some stuff that you can’t fix, complicated stuff that she doesn’t even want you to try to fix. Often during this time period, a steady shoulder to lean on — literally and figuratively — is all that’s required of you. You’ll know when your sage advice and vaguely related stories from your own youth are needed, and then you can strap on your cape and save the day.

2) What Are You Wearing…and Why Is Your Hair Purple?

Tweens will, especially if they weren’t permitted to have any decision making power in their ‘younger days’, push the boundaries and your buttons when it comes to fashion. While you should have been granting them this freedom all a long, it is important to understand that they are trying to define themselves to the world. This is a good and important thing; so pick your battles mindfully. And eventually, the “can I color my hair?” or “who said you could color your hair?” conversation will happen. Have a spare towel and a pair of plastic gloves at the ready.

3) What Your Face Is Really Saying

Michelle Icard nails it in her great book Middle School Makeover: you may think you are saying nothing while your tween opens up about him or her or them or it but your face is anything but quiet. Raising a tween means paying more attention to your facial expressions than you ever thought necessary. *Listen to the Modern Dads Podcast with Michelle Icard about this very topic!

4) Can We Talk About That Smell?

Babies smell like rainbows, toddlers like every food ever made AND then combined, but tweens…tweens smell like sweat and hormones and awkwardness. Water bill be damned, daily showers are now essential.

5) Coming Unhinged

You know, with usually nothing more than a Phillips head screwdriver, doors can come off their hinges. Keep this in mind if door slamming becomes a part of your life with a tween, because it gets awfully hard to slam something that isn’t there.

Now for a few things that might fly in the face of conventional wisdom about raising tweens…

6) Never Too Old For A Snuggle

Admittedly, it might not happen as frequently as when they were 5 and maybe not in front of certain (or any) friends, but your tweens will still crave a good snuggle and they won’t necessarily refuse a hand to hold while walking into the Lucius concert with you either.

7) You Can’t Spell SCHOOL Without FUN

Okay, so none of the letters in ‘fun’ are found in ‘school’ but tweens, while obviously growing up, are still kids and kids like having fun. That’s a fact. It’s important to remember not to strip all of the schooltime fun away just because the kids are starting to look like mini-adults.

8) TYS R STILL FN 2

It’s not all texting and dystopian books with tweens, or at least it doesn’t have to be. Littlest Pets, Matchbox cars, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, LEGO, Minions, and more: pop culture toy icons don’t fade away when a kid turns 10 (only to return a decade later when that kid is suddenly a hipster 20 year old), they are still fun and if given the opportunity to enjoy an elongated childhood, your tween can and will still be a kid.

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4 Comments

  1. #5 is my favorite.

  2. I’m trying not to judge and giving more space. Ain’t always easy!

  3. Pingback: 8 Things You Need to Know About Raising Tween Girls - AltoSky - AltoSky

  4. So, so true! Tween girls NEED their dads to both
    a) respect the mini-adult who is testing her stand-up-for-her-ideals and reasoning skills (future lawyers, they all seem to be!) and
    b) go right with them back to the silliest, most childish stuff they can’t quite leave behind. They are learning to do nostalgia – when they call this cue, it’s the perfect time to indulge in it yourself.

    Tweens will show their curiosity about topics on which they will clam up as teens, so even if it feels like you are rushing, it’s actually the perfect time to get in those things you’d always promised yourself you’d tell your kids about sex and relationships, and get a peek into how their social and emotional lives might be more complicated than ours where back in the day. As they or their friends grapple with attractions and sexuality, the good news is that dads (and moms) CAN be awkward and inexpert and actually have a BETTER conversation. See what teens told me about this at http://ummaboutthat.com/2014/10/21/its-the-little-things-part-2-in-pursuit-of-imperfection/.

joc