Parenting a tween, oh boy! Our children are on the cusp of being a teenager, but we want a child for a little longer. Here are tips that can help NOW!
One of the things I heard back from a lot of you in my reader survey was concerns you had about parenting the tween years. Can I just say I get it? I do! My daughters are 10 and 8, and we are getting into that age range. Our children are on the cusp of being a teenager, and we want them to stay a child for a little longer. Parenting a tween is hard, and I am navigating these waters carefully. I am also finding myself overwhelmed and unprepared.
Here are a few areas I struggle with, and areas where you expressed concerns.
Dealing with Puberty
This is one area where I sought advice way in advance. Why? Because the thought of it freaked me out! Mood swings, body changes, and all that is just something I have NOT wanted to deal with. But, alas, we have too :/ Here are some amazing resources that can help you navigate your tween through puberty:
- Talking to Your Preteens about Sex and Dating-Homeschool Creations
- How to Hug a Porcupine: Negotiating the Prickly Points of the Tween Years-Jule Ross
- Season of Change: Parenting Your Middle Schooler with Passion and Purpose-Rebecca Ingram Powell
- God’s Design for Sex Series
- Growing up God’s Way (Book for Girls, and Book for Boys)-Chris Richards
Helping our Girls Become Virtuous Young Women
One of the biggest challenges I have found while parenting a tween is the attitude. Both from my daughters and from their friends. Our girls are being raised in the era of “Mean Girls” and are bombarded with messages saying they need to be “hot” they need to be obsessed with boys, and that they need to be pencil thin. This leaves us as parents fighting hard to combat it, and more often than not, we are losing.
Here are some resources that I have found to help me raise my daughters to be virtuous young women.
- Bringing Up Girls: Practical Advice and Encouragement for Those Shaping the Next Generation of Women-by James C. Dobson
- Dealing with a Mean Girl-Joy in the Journey
- Six Ways to Keep the “Little” in Your Girl: Guiding Your Daughter from Her Tweens to Her Teens-Dannah Gresh
- Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and the New Realities of Girl World-Rosalind Wiseman
- The Drama Years: Real Girls Talk About Surviving Middle School — Bullies, Brands, Body Image, and More-Haley Kilpatrick
- The Care and Keeping of You: The Body Book for Younger Girls-Valorie Schaefer
- Getting to Know God: 30 Days of Devotions for Daughters of the King (FREE for a limited time)
Raising Boys to be Wise Young Men
My boy is only 3, so I have a while before I have to worry about this. However, when the time comes, I want to make sure my boy is a gentleman. That he treats women with respect, and that he is able and willing to work and provide for his family while leading a Christian home.
Here are some resources that I have found will help in raising our boys to be wise young men.
- Essential Life Skills for Boys-Homeschool Your Boys
- Six Ways to Keep the “Good” in Your Boy: Guiding Your Son from His Tweens to His Teens-Dannah Gresh
- Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys- Dan Kindlon and Michael Thompson
- Bringing up Boys-James Dobson
How do I “Let Go” and “Hold On” at the Same Time?
This is the biggest area where I am struggling with right now. Where do you find the balance between hanging on and letting go? I let go and let my daughter go to camp last year for the first time. She had a great experience, but it is NOT always going to be that way. Finding this balance as a mom has been difficult, but we are navigating through these changes. Slowly, and I am sure there will be many mistakes along the way!
Here are some resources that I have found to help us let go, yet hold on!
- When Good Parenting Means Letting Go-Vibrant Homeschooling
- Saying No to Your Teenager Thoughtfully-Middle Way Mom
- Letting Go and Trusting God with Our Children-Joy in the Journey
Nurturing Our Relationships
As our tweens get older, it is natural I believe for our relationships to change. They may not come to us to “chat” as much as they once did. They may come and “chat” with us about things we just don’t feel comfortable handling. They will test our authority, and long for independence. During these years, it is very important for us to nurture our relationships with our tweens.
Here are some resources that I have found can help us nurture our relationship with our tweens!
- What’s On Your Son’s Heart-Homeschool Your Boys
- 5 Things Your Teen Needs From You-Vibrant Homeschooling
Additional Advice and Resources:
- Encourage your tween to volunteer. Getting tweens involved in some type of volunteer assignment will encourage them to think about someone other than themselves, and can hopefully help combat the meanness that tends to come with this age.
- Limit and monitor social media and internet use.
- Yes, Homeschoolers do Experience Peer Pressure-Homeschool Your Boys
- Getting to Calm: Cool-Headed Strategies for Parenting Tweens + Teens-Laura S. Kastner and Jennifer Wyatt
Moms, as we navigate these tween years, I think it is SO important for us to remember that it is just a season. A friend of mine told me that she has come to the conclusion that parenting a tween is not that different from potty training:
“I’m not going to leave my toddler sitting in a dirty diaper, but neither am I going to make a moral issue out of it. I’m going to patiently come along side to show her/him a better way. We can think that tween issues are moral issues, but I think a lot of it is stages that will pass when we stay loving and involoved.”