The previous Great NEWS post shared Parenting Principles for Preventing Problems Part 10 – Youth Parenting Challenges and today we continue the series with Part 11 – Preteen Parenting Challenges. Parenting preteens requires a combination of emotional, mental, physical and spiritual beliefs and practices to deal with the “tweens”. Parents who navigate the “tween” years well will enjoy terrific teens while those that do not may find themselves dealing with the terrible two years reborn again with their teens. Parenting Principles for Preventing Problems – Part 11 will cover the challenging pre-teen years.
Dealing with “tweens” involves walking a balance beam between not treating them as a child while also conditioning them to be a terrific teen. Pre teens are no longer youth and not yet teens so they feel misaligned, misrepresented and misunderstood. They feel more mature than they are and want more freedoms. They often feel trapped between being treated like a child and not getting the freedom or respect of a teen.
A preteen is the period past elementary school often defined as middle school and before high school. It is essential to continue building, maintaining and sustaining even stronger communications and connections with your preteens. This is a period of tremendous change, growth and pressure for your child. Peer pressure and school pressure really begins to take a toll on them as they are expected and required to act and behave differently than while in primary school.
All their activities, communications, rules and values seem to go through hyper growth and transition. More than ever before both parents will be put to the test by the pre teen to see if they are communicating, congruent and coordinating their parenting roles together. If and when the pre teen finds a gap or weakness in the defense or offense plan of the parents they will exploit it to the fullest.
The decisions, details and discipline for a preteen must be a unified front to avoid inconsistencies or mixed signals. Parents must coordinate and cooperate as a terrific team to provide a unified parenting partnership. Raising a preteen to become a great teen requires the parents to avoid unnecessary conflicts, confusion and confrontations that weaken their communications and relationship. These challenges could hurt future maturation and transformation opportunities for the family to build stronger bonds together.
As has been mentioned previously in this series divorced parents and single parents usually face an even bigger challenge when it comes to parenting pre teens. This is because there are more people involved in the process. When you consider the addition of multiple adults such as step parents, in-laws and grandparents involved in the child raising process it gets complicated quickly. Any incidence of death, diagnosis, disability, disagreement, disassociation, disease, disharmony, distance or divorce in a family unit will result in additional complications, conflict and confusion.
When this occurs it is even more important that collaboration, communication and cooperation from the family, friends and extended family become the higher goal in order to provide additional guidance and supervision for the preteens well being. “Tweens” also require super strong role models and a stellar support system to help them deal with the multitude of academics, activities, advancements, athletics and attitudes that are impacting their life.
Preteen years typically cover 7th and 8th grade. “Tweens” go through a tremendous transition as they enter the middle school system which demands more accountability, discipline, maturity and responsibility. With a full day at school, more homework assignments and testing pressures it adds even more strain and stress to the family dynamics at home. Any lack of stability or support at home can greatly affect their ability to perform and do well at school. This can easily start a chain reaction which creates a smooth train ride or a sad train wreck. How well these middle school years go will have a great deal of influence for the rest of their education and life.
Many parents continue with home schooling or private school to help build an even stronger foundation for education, ethics and values. For parents that choose public schools it is important to realize the added strain and stress that can come from the peer pressure and public school dynamics. The big bureaucratic school system can be harmful or helpful depending on how you and your student are able to attain, maintain and sustain your agility and flexibility dealing with the way the system works or does not work. It will be even more important to provide a solid and stable home environment that enhances and supplements the school experience.
Preteen Parenting Challenges
“Tweens” can be excited and enthusiastic or fearful and frustrated with middle school and teachers. Factors such as behavior patterns, class size, communication skills, learning modalities, maturity level, parental support, peer group and personality traits play a huge factor in their success and support. Any challenges at home can easily escalate to issues at school and cause a preteen to feel less empowerment, enjoyment and excitement towards school.
Parents must be effective and efficient at learning and listening when their students talk or do not talk. Any issues at home or school are a direct reflection of issues from home life and parenting that need to be addressed immediately. Rather than blaming the school or teachers for failing to deliver results the parents must look within to see if they have dropped the ball and need to reassess their responsibility and role in allowing the issue to manifest.
Parents are responsible for all the factors influencing their students macro and micro education such as: academic activities, athletic activities and sports, choosing the school, computer skills, exercise routines, extracurricular activities, family values, field trips, fine arts appreciation, goal setting, healthy nutrition, help with homework, hobbies, home environment, inspiration and motivation, neighborhood, open communications, peer group, reading level, self esteem, sleep schedule, spiritual education, study habits and time management skills. For many of you this may seem like a long check list and maybe many of you were not consciously aware of all the responsibilities and roles you must be the source for sharing with your student.
When a parent sets the stage and is a stellar role model the student can follow their lead. When a parent is uncomfortable or unsure of their own abilities and themselves in general than the student will need to face the same fears as the parent in order to live their dreams. How well you do in all areas of life is how your student will do. How you handle being calm, comfortable and confident is how well your preteen will do likewise. When a “tween” is feeling fearful, rejected, shy, stressed, unappreciated, unsupported, unloved or withdrawn it makes school and social situations even more of a challenge and confrontation.
If a preteen has issues with bullying, homework, learning, peer pressure, reading skills, school, self esteem, self confidence, self worth, teachers or writing you must step up immediately to provide additional skills, solutions, sources, strategies, support and systems resources. They depend on you to help them meet their personal development and self growth needs.
When there are unresolved hurts or issues Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) is great tool for helping parents and preteens deal with emotional blockages and unresolved issues. EFT is also a great tool for enhancing learning, liking, listening, memory recall, remembering and reducing stress around school situations and testing. EFT helps parents and preteens learn easier, faster and more effectively with less strain and stress.
Parents are the main guiding force in a child’s life and an integral part of the learning, school and teaching process. Too often they forget this and try to outsource many of their roles and responsibilities to others such as: administrators, coaches, counselors, doctors, family, friends, ministers, neighbors, nurses, professionals, schools and teachers, youth ministers thinking that the city, federal and state system will do the best right thing for them. Parents often learn too late that trusting others with your most precious person is a high risk decision. Parents play the most vital role in the student’s physiology, programming and psychology that will determine their progress in school and life forever.
Preteens need a confident, congruent and consistent parent all the time and not a parent who tries to be a part time friend and part time parent. “Tweens” still need lots of acknowledgement, coaching, encouragement, guidance, inspiration, love, motivation, support and time to help them navigate the learning process while at home so they can also apply this help at school. Preteens need parents that are “raving fans” to help them make the tough transition to being a teen which is the most challenging stage yet to come.
Parenting Preteens Is An Art and Science
Parents must be cautious of the “Seductive Song of Sirens” singing the allure and praise of advertisements, bling, cell phones, clothes, computers, DVD player, internet, magazines, money, movies, music, pads, parties, radio, shoes, sports figures, tablets, television and video games. There are too many companies and individuals all too eager to play a significant a role in your child’s daily routine.
While there are many great programs for your preteens it is up to your to do your due diligence and monitor the interactions that take place between these influential influences and your easily influenced “tween”. It is way too easy to be a bit too casual and take a back seat only to wake up one day to the fox that is now in the henhouse you call home and your sweet little chicks are at risk or possibly worse. Technology is one of our greatest allies and greatest aliens so never assume everything is fine and let your guard down. Your preteens still need lots of close surveillance, supervision and support to ensure their safety and well being.
Be sure to meet all the people who have a routine role to play in your child’s education, life or influence. Meet all coaches, friends, parents, teachers, youth leaders that come in close contact with your impressionable child. It is vital to help your preteens develop great common sense, gut feeling, instincts, intuition and judgment around adults and other children of all ages.
It is up to you to provide coaching and guidance to help them with establishing great behaviors, habits and routines for all situations including family, friends, home, neighbors, public, school and strangers. Preteens need help with a multitude of deductive, objective, organizational, reasoning, strategic and tactical thinking skills to help them be life long learners, life skills super stars and life style wizards for life. Be assured they can preserve, process and program a lot more information than you think they can. Stretch them and your self at the same time because you and they have a small window of opportunity during these “tween” years. .
Be sure to review the previous post on distractions that impair their personal growth and self development. Everything they come in contact with has an influence so choose wisely.
Being in peak learning state is an art and science so get training for you and your preteens for help in mastering these skill sets. Conscious communications, Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) tapping, fitness, health, music, Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), nutrition, reading, singing and writing are some of the best foundational skills you can build on.
The more high quality learning environments the parents can help their young “tween” experience the more adept they can become. Anything that encourages them, enhances the learning experience and is fun is great for opening their body’s, brains, ears and eyes to the wonders of the world.
Preteens need even more physical activity to stay fit, direct their new raging hormones and be healthy. This physical activity will give them an outlet for their “tween” hyper drive, desire to be more grown up as well ah help with learning. Basketball, Biking, Canoeing, Frisbee, Hiking, Kayaking, Soccer, Swimming, Volleyball, Walking and Yoga are great outlets for preteens to enjoy. Anything that improves and promotes their energy, fitness and oxygen levels is helpful. Meditation and yoga are a great combination for relaxing an overactive body and mind.
When parents and preteens get too busy it is easy to be seduced by all the fake foods, fast foods and junk foods. They seem so appealing, easy and taste so good with all those artificial flavor additives and taste enhancers. When you buy processed foods like burgers and fries, chicken nuggets or pizza you are loading the body down with unhealthy fats and proteins. Just as bad are the sugary juices, sodas and sports drinks. These processed foods and snacks give you lots of calories but do not provide the nutrients you body and mind needs to function at peak performance.
Healthy nutrient dense organic whole foods are essential for providing the energy, health and vitality for learning and performing in today’s high paced world. Be sure to check out what they are eating at friends, at restaurants and at school or be prepared to deal with acne, body odor, low grades, obesity and sickness. Food choices have been linked to behavioral, emotional, health, learning and psychological issues.
Avoid being a pushy parent and focus on skills that help them be peak performers in life skills. Continue to build a strong foundation in comprehension, grammar, reading, spelling, vocabulary and writing.
Preteens need to experience a wide range of abilities, activities, advancements and adventures to be well rounded and versed in many avenues of life. Give them encouragement and opportunity to develop lots of self esteem, skills, success and support. Help them develop a wide range of options to enjoy and experience in order to help them find their passion and purpose in life. We are all gifted and talented in many areas we just need to find them early on and enjoy them even more.
Just like with youth it is essential for preteens to continue focusing on skills and traits like: communications, confidence, creativity, determination, drive, imagination, play, persistence, resourcefulness, self image, social skills, tenacity and versatility. Academic performance will come when they develop the core skills and traits.
Preteens will need consistent and continued help to enhance their self esteem, self image and self worth. Be a raving fan and role model to help them create a great foundation for school and life. Be sure to walk the talk that you ask of your preteens. Compassion, flexibility, honesty, integrity, maturity, reliability and stability are important traits to live by. Make sure they always feel safe to share anything and everything that is important to them.
Divorced, separated and single parents often have a more daunting challenge and must be extra vigilant to make sure the child is not manipulated by the adults. Children will pay a heavy price and suffer from the negative feelings, power plays and upsets of their parents. Be sure you behave like loving and responsible adults in order to protect your children from significant relationship issues later in life they learn from you.
Continue to teach your preteens the life skills needed to manage their finances and money early on to master these skills early that are lacking in so many adults. Teach them how to budget, earn, invest, save, spend and tithe early on and they will excel later on. Let them participate in family decisions and discussions to build the skills they will need to be secure and successful. Teach them the value of being great guardians and safe stewards of this precious planet we call earth. Remember the “Seventh Generation” philosophy of the Native Americans that reflects on how our decisions will affect many generations to follow so be sure to choose wisely. “The Story Of Stuff” is a great website to help build strong values and vision for the future.
Financial issues and struggles around income, investments, money, savings and security are probably some of the great challenges for children and parents alike. With great parenting principles, programming and peak performance psychology coupled with personal development and self growth will insure they are able to find the resources and resourcefulness they need to be happy and healthy.
Remember that your preteens look to you as their primary role models for how to act, behave and communicate at home, in public and at school. Most behaviors and traits your children express came from you or because of you so always find and seek feedback on how you are doing. When you walk the talk so will they.
Children are like a mirror reflecting what they feel, hear and see so be careful to notice this reflection from them is a really a reflection from you. Children are also like a cloned computer and their hard drive, operating system and software is built 50 percent from the father and 50 percent from the mother. Other people in their lives also affect their operating, performance and programming.
Parenting is an Art
Parenting is both an art and science as your navigate the journey and path for peak parenting principles. Sometimes it is hard enough to guide yourself through challenges and issues of life. Children add a whole new dimension to the complexity and complications we face. The most important information is to be direct, honest, open and safe with your kids that you all need to play and work together as a terrific team in order to be happy and healthy. With a strong foundation and solid structure your family can withstand any storm that comes your way. They will come so start preparing now.
This Great NEWS post offers Parenting Principles for Preventing Problems by sharing simple strategies and suggestions. Parenting preteens is easier when you build a strong base of peak parenting principles. Clear outcomes, mastery action plans and lots of love will help parents and students figure thing out. This post on Parenting Principles for Preventing Problems Part 11 is offered to help parents and preteens be super stars together.
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Next week the Great NEWS blog will share:
Parenting Principles for Preventing Problems Part 12: Teen Parenting Challenges