I DON'T DO TEENAGERS ◽ HOME
What about those preteens, though? Sometimes, they’re worse than teens, right? Their hormones are just starting to ramp up, attitudes are worsening, and they can’t make decisions or tolerate siblings. And what age does this start? Well…every mom will tell you it’s different, but it starts early…and it’s not easy to deal. I think by definition, preteens are at the ages of 9-12 but they think they’re 20.
Here are some helpful ideas as you navigate this month with your pre-teens…should you find them in your house, around your neighborhood, or among your family:
Remember, they’re asserting their independence. They want to be set apart from younger siblings and have something “their own” to do or be responsible for. So give it to them. Let out the leash, so to speak, and grant them some independence in a safe area…like perhaps allowing them to choose their outfits, or make their schedules…things they can control and deliver…with little oversight from you.
Remember, their emotions are all over the place before they ever enter the teen years. One day they might feel like holding your hand and sitting closely, and the next day they might want to be alone in a corner with a book. Allow them grace, and don’t take their rejection personally.
Remember, friends are important to them at this age. While monitoring and guiding them, invite one of their friends over for special fun and let them prepare the food and the games, movies, etc. Allow them their own space by one parent taking the other siblings out for a bit, so this preteen can own the space of the house for a while.
Remember, they’re not adults, though they might present themselves as one. They don’t need to be involved in the emotional conversations of adults. They can still only handle kid stuff, so don’t lay burdens on them too heavy to carry…that you yourself stumble with.
Remember, they need assurance. Their bodies may be starting to change, their thoughts venturing out to the opposite sex, their limbs becoming awkward as they grow and ache. Give them verbal affirmation often, even if they push away or want space. Hug them tight at night, when no one is looking. And leave your door open for conversations when they feel like talking.
Navigating this time of life with our kids might be just as difficult as the terrible twos, and it just never stops…this parenting thing. Be encouraged. Your kids will continue to grow, and you as well, as you both remember to love…and keep loving.