Most behaviors that you might encounter with your preteen (tweens) are pretty normal. Preteenhood usually ranges from the age of nine to twelve years.
Handling a tween or preteen attitude can be quite hard. As a parent, it can be frustrating raising your child through this stage.
Dealing with preteen attitude
Behavioral and attitude changes among preteens are primarily due to the onset of puberty. At this age, your tweens start getting into the realization of who they are. During this stage, expect to experience defiance, disrespect, and selfishness.
Behavioral changes are a good sign. It shows that your child is developing. Often, just like any other changes in our lives, these changes can be challenging to deal with.
Causes of tween, teen attitude
Some of the reasons your preteen tweens may be developing attitude may include:
- Distraction by their physical and mental changes. At this age, teens experience many body changes, and this might cause some attitudes.
- Separation from the parents. As preteens develop their sense of identity, they may start showing an attitude toward parents.
- Testing the parent's power limits. Teens may test you from time to time to see if you hold your ground as the protector.
- A change in brain function. These changes in the brain may cause tweens to have anger issues or sad emotions.
How to help your preteen develop a healthy brain
Preteens tend to drift away from their parents at this stage. They go through a lot of emotional and mental changes. There are a few things you can do as a parent to provide emotional safety for your preteens and help them develop mentally. They include:
- Ensuring they understand why their actions lead to some of the consequences
- Promoting good behavior
- Trying to listen and understand what your child is going through
- Ensuring they get enough sleep
Normal behaviors to expect from preteens
Different tweens have varying normal behaviors. Some of these behaviors might include:
- Overly criticizing your actions.
- Eye rolling
- Loud sighs when you talk to them
- Talking back at you
- Questioning the way you do things
- Challenging your beliefs
Tips for parents in dealing with preteen attitude
Here are some tips that can help you learn how to deal with your preteen's attitude.
- Don't overreact. As a parent, you can expect your preteen to overly react to minor issues. However, it is better if you do not interfere by trying to solve them. If you think it is a harmless situation, you might discover it's better to let them sort it through themselves.
- Don't feel rejected. Tweens start getting secretive at this age. You may want to know everything about their life, but your child is pushing you away. It is better to remain calm and wait for them to approach you when an issue bothers them deeply. Being overly curious may push your child to alienate themselves more. Instead, let them know they can always come to you for help.
- Encourage outdoor activities. Activities such as sports improve self-esteem. When involved in engaging activities, most tweens have less free time to seek validation. Sporting activities might also improve their academics since less time is spent on focusing their body image or other insecurities.
- Schedule family time with your child. Spending family time with your child helps them build interpersonal skills. During the tween age, your child might prefer to keep things to themselves. Giving them undivided attention during your special time might help them develop a positive attitude and know they are not alone.
- Try the indirect approach. Typical questions may begin to seem invasive on their end. Usually, it is noticeable when they give you the cold shoulder or brush off your question. As a parent, learn to listen more to what they are saying. It might get you more answers on what you want to know. Also, appreciate how they are handling their situation while limiting your own involvement.
- Don't be overly judgmental. Preteens might become sensitive to your actions and words towards other teens. When talking about other kids, select your comments carefully. If you are too judgmental, your child may internalize your words and apply your criticisms to themselves.
- Monitor what they watch. You might find it easier to connect with your tween by watching what they are watching. Use the opportunity to have delicate conversations on sensitive matters such as their sexuality or drugs and substance abuse. Most parents have an understanding of how the media might introduce ideas to people. You might find this as a chance to teach them how to be more assertive on the content they consume.
- Start conversations about sex and drugs. Unfortunately for parents, tweens might begin experimenting on sex and drugs. Usually, most tweens wish to avoid "the talk" with their parents. You might use different approaches that give off less pressure to educate them on sexuality and drugs. For instance, you might find books or other reading materials that discuss these topics to kickstart your conversations. It ensures you are the one providing credible information rather than their peers.
- Stay informed. Parents should ensure they have an idea of what their child is doing or going through. Showing concern for your child might change their attitude in the long run.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Child Mind Institute: "10 Tips for Parenting Preteens."
Department of Justice: "A Child's Age and Stage of Development Make A Difference."
Rock Point School: "Tips for Nurturing a Healthy Teenage Brain."
The Paediatric Society of New Zealand and Starship Foundation: "Adolescent Brain Development."
The Center for Parenting Education: "Turning Down Tween Attitude."
University of Rochester Medical Center Rochester: "Understanding the Teen Brain."
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