The Tween Years
Each stage of childhood development is different and each one has its own challenges and rewards. Parenting a Tween can be challenging; and when you’re a parent sometimes you get so bound up with the challenges that you forget to enjoy the good bits. One of the advantages of being a Grandparent is that you don’t have the same pressures as being a parent and you take more time to enjoy each of the stages of your Grandchildren’s childhood.
The Tween years can be tricky you may find your Tweens have mood swings, one minute they might be happy to snuggle up on the sofa with you to watch a film or they could be stomping up the stairs and slamming their bedroom door shut.
Tweens are going through a lot emotionally, physically and socially, it’s no wonder they get a little moody. As they move toward puberty, their hormones begin to fluctuate, causing emotional instability. Tweens also lack the emotional development to fully control their moods, they haven’t quite learnt how to express exactly what they’re feeling.
During the Tween years, they feel a strong biological need for autonomy and independence. They simultaneously want to be close and to push away. It’s very confusing and perhaps scary for them. When they’re pushing away, sometimes they get defensive and even aggressive.
It’s our job as parents to help them navigate through this phase and help them discover that independence while always being there to support them, who ever said parenting was easy.
Stay Connected with Your Tween
During this period, it’s important to stay connected with your Tweens, don’t let the mood swings push you apart. And of course, not all Tweens will have mood swings you might find you sail through this phase without any.
If your Tween does experience mood swings you need to help them through it and try and remember it’s not personal you just happen to be in the line of fire.
My 5 Tips to Stay Connected with your tween
5 tips to stay connected:
1. Eat dinner together as a family at least a couple of times a week.
2. Spend some one to one time with each of them. It could be a day out or even just a couple of hours walk.
3. Listen to them – put the phone down, turn off the TV and listen to what they have to say.
4. Give them some space and a little bit of independence.
5. Let them know you love them – they need your unconditional acceptance, love and support.
We’re lucky as we spend a lot of time with our Grandsons and Daughter and Son in Law. We always have Sunday dinner together as a family and it’s a great way to catch up on what everyone has been doing during the week and what they’ve got planned.
The boys have always loved helping prepare dinner with me, especially when I let them make the gravy or apple crumble. They love mixing and stirring and usually end up covered in flour but it gives us time to chat while we’re doing it.
I wont pretend it’s always a perfect family dinner, there’s still quite a bit of “eat your vegetables” and “stop winding your brother up”; but usually there’s also quite a bit of laughter especially when the boys are trying to tell worse jokes than Granddad.
Enjoy the tween years
The Tween years can be a bit of an emotional roller coaster. Even if they do have the occasional mood swing and you sometimes feel that your lovely child has been replaced by a grumpy / moody imposter; there will be so many more times when you have a “mini me” to spend and enjoy time with.
10 Reasons to Love your Tweens
Here are my favourite things about the Tween Years:
1. They take an interest in what they wear and what they look like – it can be great fun shopping for clothes with them.
2. They have a sense of humour – you can watch a comedy programme with them and they’ll laugh at the same jokes as you.
3. They enjoy music – you can share your favourite music with them and they can educate you on the latest new bands.
4. They can do things for themselves, like make a sandwich, wash their own hair, get themselves a drink.
5. You can leave that home for 10 minutes alone while you pop out to the shop, don’t underestimate how liberating that can be.
6. They appreciate some alone time which means you also get some alone time.
7. You get to have a lay in, so long as you don’t have younger kids as well.
8. They’re interesting to talk to, they have their own opinions and you can have a real conversation with them.
9. They can set up your new phone or electronic device twice as fast as you.
10. Occasionally they’ll still hold your hand when you’re out walking, as long as none of the friends are in sight.
There are obviously lots of other things to love about your Tweens but this is just a reminder to take a step back occasionally and enjoy their company; and you may learn something new as well.
Our grandsons love music so when we go on long car journeys we let them choose the music which can be quite interesting and actually I’ve found I quite like some of the new bands that they listen to. One of my new favourites is the Renegade Brass Band, a 12-Piece Hip Hop Band from Sheffield.
Enjoy every stage of their childhood with its ups and downs as they grow up very fast.