As your child moves into middle school you may be begin to worry about the stories you’ve heard about the tween years. You may ask yourself if it might be possible to ship them off to Grandma for a few years. I’d like to offer a couple of tips for this age group.
As your child grows older, they also are growing wiser—especially in recognizing when you are being hypocritical. Having tweens is more than ever a time for honesty and humility on parents’ part. Remember our emphasis from the very beginning of our study here that, “More is caught than taught.” There is no place for little white lies or shrugging off responsibility. They will notice and proceed to fault you for most any kind of dishonesty, even if they only fault you in their minds. Hypocrisy will affect your child on a deep level, even though you may never hear a word about it while they are young. Parents have to be on their knees to walk what they talk and continue modeling the outcomes they want to see in their children’s lives. Walking what you talk, having a safe place for honest, open discussions with your tween and asking forgiveness when you blow it can help everyone get through the tween years.
Respect Maturity Changes
Remember the admonition in Chapter Six about not being sarcastic and verbally hurtful? As your child grows into a tween and then a teen, please respect the changes in their maturity, both emotionally and physically. This is not a time for hurtful teasing or name-calling as they go through maturing. This is a time to stop using baby names or baby talk if the child is bothered by it. This is a time for supporting your child’s preferences and interests, even if they do not fit the dreams you had for your child. Remember that during this block of time, everything is changing both outside and inside the tween. You will have to prayerfully choose your battles as the relationship changes from child to teen, adjusting discipline to fit the age.
Support, love and encouragement go a lot further in promoting a good relationship than do teasing, putdowns, rejection and rigid rules. You will avoid many of the stereotypical negatives associated with mother/daughter and father/son problems when you respect your changing child and move more and more towards accepting them unconditionally.