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HOW TO STAY CONNECTED TO YOUR TWEEN

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I am more relaxed as a parent with my youngest son as he enters the tween stage and heads to being a teenager.  Probably because it’s not new, second time around is easier but no less fearful at times!

It is so easy to dismiss the tween years and get in to an argument with your tween thinking they are more challenging or not behaving as they used to.  Again, your tween is becoming more independent and becoming interested in their social life and where their place in the world is – it is extremely important to continue to guide, support and show love as they venture forward.

 

What may happen

Well, all tweens are different but generally what is happening with our tween is that there are times when our views and guidance are not needed.  Again, as a mother it’s hard to accept but your tween will probably start to chat things over with their friends more often and there will be times when they will head to their bedroom and close the door because they need space.  Just like I do at times!

What I would say is this, whatever is happening be that answering you back or not listening – it is not personal – in fact it is never personal.  These are all signs you have a tween who is growing up to become independent and that is to be welcomed.  However, don’t just think ‘oh my parenting is done’ or ‘oh so you don’t need me’ – this is not true, your child needs you in a different way so continue to offer guidance, support, and love – just be prepared for how your tween acts.

 

Things that might help

As with our teenager, we do things that often improve communication, here are some ways that may help you:

 

Meal times – spending quality time is very important especially when your tween may want to spend more time in their room.  We make sure we have at least one meal a day together – that’s normally dinner.  It’s lovely sitting together and all chatting together.  Even if your tween is reluctant to join in stick with it.

 

Quality time – I go for walks with my tween, it’s a great time to chat.  There are times the conversation is hard but again stick with it.  There are also times though where my tween would talk forever, take this time, and appreciate that your tween is going through a lot.

 

Bedtime – we have a bed routine still which we established when the boys were little.  Your tween will start to need more sleep so you may need to establish a new routine.  We continue with the same routine now but the times have changed.

 

Affection time – continue to show affection to your tween even when there are times they don’t want to.  It doesn’t have to be a hug or kiss but saying I love you or I’m proud of you goes a long way.  As a parent, I try my best to say this at least once a day.  I think it gives kids a sense of being secure and loved.

 

I hope these tips help you.  I’d love to hear your experience of communicating with your tween.

 

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Communication

4 WAYS TO SAY CONNECTED TO YOUR TEEN

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It can be difficult to stay connected to your teen as they grow and become more independent.  The relationship we as parents once had is different especially as they grow from being a child to a teen and that can take some getting used to!  I know this from experience – it took me a while to realise that my kids still needed me but in a different way.

 

For me, it was and continues to be extremely important to stay connected and communication on a regular basis with my teenager.  Below are 4 ways I’m attempting to stay connected to my boys.  I hope these tips help you stay connected too.

 

Ask questions AND listen

There are times when my teen just doesn’t want to communicate but it’s important that I show him how much I’m interested in what he does.  I often ask how his day at school has been and I also ensure I pay close attention to his answer.  I often give him my undivided attention.  It’s counter productive if you ask a question and don’t listen or sit on your phone while your teen is talking.

 

Watch movies or a TV programme together

We do this as a family – we watch the Walking Dead and when that’s on a break we watch a movie.  I feel it is extremely important to spend time together and watching a TV programme or movie and discussing it afterwards is an excellent way of doing this.  It also gives my a way of forgetting about the stress of homework or exams that may be coming up!

 

 

Doing Chores together

There are chores I hate to do, and chores I know both my kids hate to do.  I try and do some of these together.  For example my tween and I mowed the lawn the other day together.  It was a great way to bond and it’s a great lesson to show how to maintain a home!

 

 

Give them a Hug everyday & remind them you love them

It can be difficult to get your teen to hug you but I highly recommend it!  It’s important for us as a family to hug each other every day and to express how much we love each other.  This is a great way of bolstering your teens self-esteem and a hug also helps you relieve stress!

 

Are you finding it difficult to communicate with your teen?  I’d love to hear your views.

 

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Communication

6 SECRETS EVERY PARENT SHOULD KNOW ABOUT TEENAGERS

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Teenagers can be a mystery at times and as a mummy to two lovely boys, one is a teenager, the other a tween, life can be fun!

 

Approaching the teen years my hubby and I were a little scared to say the least but we have found that friction between teens and parents is not inevitable.

 

If you take time to read up on what your teenager’s body is going through and why they act the way they do then you too can take courage knowing it doesn’t have to be scary.

 

Of course, we are not perfect parents but we have tried our best to be honest, open and loving so that the teenage years allows our son to find his way in the world and define his own path with the honest answers to questions he asks.

 

We let him know how much we value his opinions, how much we respect his views even when there are times we don’t agree with them.

 

I hope the following 6 ‘secrets’ help you on your parenting journey as your child reaches the teen years.

 

A teenager looks grown-up but they are not

The part of the brain to do with planning and organising is very much unfinished during the teen years.  This is the reason so many teenagers become distracted or forgetful during this period.  Knowing this will give you as a parent the empathy to guide your teenager during this time rather than shouting at how forgetful they are being – truth is they really can’t help it!

 

No matter how much you feed them, it is never enough!

The teenage body is developing more during this period than at any other stage of life so this growing and developing requires a lot of nutrients, hence more often than not teenagers eat more during this period.  Of course every teenager is different but this has been our experience.

 

Teenagers are messy

What can I say; it is a fact of teenage life.  This often goes for both girls and boys in my experience.  Again this is emblematic of the teenage years and is a personal disorganisation brought about by the growing and as mentioned about the part of the brain to do with planning and organising being unfinished.  Of course the untidy room will drive you as a parent nuts but my advice is to relax – it is not an affront to your own personal domestic prowess nor is it about disrespecting you as a parent – it is simply a fact of teenage life.  My advice is not to allow the messy room to become a power struggle between yourself and your teenager.  Instead make it part of earning extra money for extra chores but remember – give them one task at a time!

 

Teenagers want to be understood

There are times when teenagers want to be left alone, they throw out words such as stay out of my business or leave me alone.  While there are times your teenager does need space they do however want their parents to know how they are feeling and what drives them.  Teenagers will continue to challenge you as a parent but remember this is all part of them growing up and finding out who they are.  My advice is to stop and listen to your teenager, be patient and you will learn more about your teenager than you ever thought possible.

 

 

Teenagers are under a lot of strain from peer pressure

There are times when I laugh this off but it is serious for teenagers. Peer pressure is a big thing in their life – from school, from friends.  It is important to steer your teenager through the peer pressure but do it with a bit of sensitivity.  I’ve found involving your teenagers in a club or sport will divert their attention at times.  I would also encourage you to praise your teenager as much as possible which will encourage them to continue to do the action they are being praised for.

 

Teenagers are night owls and not early birds

There are times when teenagers won’t go to bed at a reasonable hour and of course you can’t then get them up in the morning.  Did you know there is a biological basis for this?  During the teen years the circadian clock is programmed differently from adults – it is usually about 3 or 4 hours difference.  So don’t worry about this it will pass but as a parent you should be aware that your teenager may be grumpy and sleep deprived so perhaps if they argue with you it has nothing to do with you at all just the mood your teenager is in.

 

I do hope you have found these tips helpful.  There is no manual on how to raise children, but as parents we try our best to understand how our children act as they do.  We also try to guide, love and cherish them through all stages of their lives.

 

I would love to hear your thoughts on raising teenagers.

 

Lisa x

 

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Communication