Even though we were once teenagers and probably drove our parents insane, as parents ourselves our pre-teens confuse us. The mood swings, selective hearing, their intolerance of us — it’s hard to figure out what mood they’re going to be in and when those moods will happen. Even though they won’t admit it, our pre-teens need us but they want us to understand them at the same time. Understanding them is difficult for us but we can figure it out if we pay close enough attention to our kids.
They need our understanding
As our pre-teens start to go through puberty they will need our understanding more and more. They will be trying to sort out the mood swings they feel and the changes they’re going through — that could be quite confusing for them. We need to be there to talk to them and support them as needed and learn to be tolerable of their mood swings. After all, we’ve been in their shoes.
At this point in time, they may need to have some reminders of what they need to do since occasionally they can be forgetful. We need to remind them to bring their cell phones with them when they go out and even remind them to bring all of their books to and from school. We can help them by setting reminders on their phones or just giving them gentle reminders on a daily basis.
Personally, I use the reminders app on our iPhones to sync reminders from my cell phone to my daughter’s phone. This works very well for us.
They need our guidance
As pre-teens they will start to have disagreements with friends, new cliques will form and pre-teens will often get upset as older friends drift apart. Fifth and sixth grade is when some pre-teens are more mature than others and interests change — friendships usually shift at this stage. We have to be there to support them and guide them through these social changes. We need to encourage them and tell them that friends will come and go but true friends will love them no matter what.
We also have to help them with making the right decisions and thinking through the pros and cons of every situation. We have to teach them how to handle tough decisions and situations that they might encounter. If they are with their friends and those friends try to pressure them into making a bad decision, we have to teach them how to hold their ground even if that’s going against the grain.
They need us to encourage them to be active
Pre-teens are prone to wanting to sit on the computer, wanting to play video games or wanting to sit on their phones and text all day. They may hate us, but occasionally we have to encourage them to be active.
- Encourage them to join a sport
- Encourage them to go for a walk with you
- Encourage them to go outside and hang out with those same friends that they’re texting
While pre-teens do need rest and relaxation as they go through bodily changes, they also need to exercise and get fresh air.
Honestly, this is something that I can’t relate to because when we were pre-teens we didn’t have cell phones or computers. As an 11/12 year old I would go outside and spend time with my friends and I would have to actually walk to their houses and see if they were even free to hang out. That’s something my kids will never understand or have to do because of modern technology.
They need your attention
Even though pre-teens need and want some independence they also need attention from their parents; even though they won’t ever admit it. They will, however, give us subtle clues that they want to spend time with us. It’s important to give your pre-teen your undivided attention and let them know that you’re always there for them. Encourage them to open up and talk about things that are bothering them and let them know that you will try your very best to understand them.
The thought of having a pre-teen was absolutely frightening to me but once I sat down and thought about what they really need from us I felt less apprehensive. Now that I follow my own rules (above) my daughter and I have an amazing relationship and are best friends.