How do you parent a hormonal tween girl and live to tell the tale? Check out these 9 parenting tips for these volatile and rough tween years!
When you buy something at the store, even the simplest of items come with directions or instructions. Easy-peasy right? Then you have a child and suddenly there are NO instructions or directions that come with your new little package. We learn as we go, even if we happen to go a little crazy, but we learn how to be a parent and as our children grow, we grow right along with them. Then the time comes where your infant turns toddler, and your toddler turns to young child, and your once adorable, pig-tailed, happy little girl turns into a tween! (Cue sinister music please!) Then just like when you first found out you were expecting a child, your entire world changes in an instant. Welcome to the tween years of 8 to 12!
Ways to Parent a Tween Girl Without Losing Your Mind
Ah, the tween years. Menstrual cycles, hormonal changes, acne, independence, boys, and I cringe as I say it, puberty. Things are about to change a whole lot in your household, some not for the best, but no worries, we have you covered! We’re sharing nine wonderful ways to help you parent a tween girl, and some of these could definitely be lifesavers for both your sanity and your daughter’s sanity.
- Staying Connected–one of the hardest things about being a parent to a tween girl is the worry of becoming disconnected from them. When the time comes, it’s our job as parents to make sure that this doesn’t happen, no matter how much they might fight us on it. Family dinners are the biggest thing, every night at dinner time should be family time as well-no excuses. Experts agree that when tweens have dinner with their parents, they become more well-rounded, are less likely to have sexual relations in high school, and have less of a chance of trying drugs/alcohol or becoming depressed or anxious. Activities scheduled with both parents, separately or together, can also help them to excel as they grow into adults.
- Recognize Personal Space–do not hover over your tween like they are a fragile butterfly that needs watching 24 hours a day because they will grow to resent you for it. But do enforce your rules and offer up punishments when those rules are not followed. Beware though, you may hear the phrase, “That’s not fair!” or “You’re ruining my life!” a few times when enforcing said rules. Do not get offended, it happens to every single parent ever. Give them their personal space and do not invade it. If they come home and are having a bad day, give them time to work out whether they want to talk to you about it or not, they will eventually.
- Change How You Discipline–A time out is going to work much better on a five-year-old than a twelve-year-old. Grounding works, because after all, tweens are all about their friends at that age so grounding them from their friends for a few days will help them understand that whatever it is they did, will not be tolerated. With modern technology being all the rage nowadays, taking their phone or iPod or iPad away for a few hours, days, or the week will also help them understand that you are still the parent, no matter how independent and grown up they think they are.
- Don’t Take It Personal–your daughter ‘hates’ you today because you won’t let her wear that color eye shadow. Tomorrow she’ll hate you because she can’t go to the movies with ‘that boy’, etc, etc, etc. Don’t take it personally, because chances are it never is. Rebellion is part of the tween phase, how do you think teenagers have mastered it so well? They learned when they were tweens!
- Teach Values/Morals–now is the perfect time to teach them values and morals. Do not be afraid to talk about things you did when you were their age, within reason, of course. Talk to them about the ill effects of drugs, alcohol, drunk driving, texting while driving, and more. Show them real life examples of drug or alcohol use and what could happen to them or their friends if they get mixed up with the wrong people. This is a great time to have ‘the talk’ with them as well.
- Beware of Overexposure to Fads–in a world that runs on technology, it’s easy to see how they might want to indulge themselves into the most popular fad or culture. For example, they see it on every media outlet and want to try something potentially dangerous, although it’s been glamorized through media. Whether it’s the next big weight loss pill or the latest fad said to make them smarter. Whatever the topic may be, watch out for it may try to invade your home as so many of them do.
- Let Them Find Their Identity–tonight she comes home with black clothes, black lipstick, and some emo music on her iPod, yep she’s trying to find out who she is. We have to let them figure it out on their own, or they’ll be all confused as to where they fit at in this crazy world. Do not discourage and do not encourage it, let them do this on their own if they can.
- Have the Talk, the Extended Version–girls are usually more afraid of becoming a teenager than boys. They fear the vulnerability they may have to boys or men, and how their body is going to look in a certain outfit or in the mirror. Have the talk with her by covering several different topics; sex, boys, hormones, expectations, peer pressure, school work, sexual feelings she may get, body image, body type, warning signs, emotions, and more. Reassurance that no matter how she looks, her mind is just as beautiful as the rest of her, because she is unique.
- Respect Deserves Respect–no explanation needed here, but a very useful tool for tweens as they grow and succeed in whatever they do. Be sure she can be respectful to herself as well as showing respect to others.
- Be Their Parent Not Their Friend–as much as it might pain us to see our daughters go through this hard adjustment in their lives, we need to remain their parent, not their friend. They have enough friends at their age, save the befriending until she is an adult with a family of her own. Until then, be her parent because she will always need her Mom or Dad.
There is no doubt that the Tween years are a difficult feat for both parents and kids, but we hope that these ideas with help you to help your daughter succeed in her growing years.
Do you have any other ideas for how to parent a tween girl to add to our list? Let us know in the comments below.