Parenting, Personal Development

Preteens, What’s Up With That?

At this stage they are beginning seemingly to pull away from parents, don’t maybe run and tell you everything and understandably with today’s complex world and the internet it can be scary and cause anxiety. It’s important to create connections with them, connections that hopefully started when they were kids, but if not, well why not now?

Meals are an important aspect of family life. Blue Bloods the TV Show always shows a family meal. That is where the family talks and really checks in with each other, which is important. Meals are not only about food nourishment, but also about nourishing bonds with others. Make it a point that at least a few times a week everyone sits down for a meal. Even if it’s an evening snack and hot chocolate, and really talk, show interest, not in an intrusive way. I talked about questions in a previous post and I will talk more about questions to ask your kids, how to ask them in another post.

Checking in with them at night when they go to bed. Let them know you love them, are there for them and they can always come to you. Just knowing you are looking in on them, checking in, especially if you had a busy day. Let them feel safe in the dark of the night. Keeping that connection going is crucial.

Watch TV shows, movies together and then talk about it. Ask what they liked and didn’t like about it and why. Not saying do this every day, but maybe twice a week, make it a special family night. Show an interest in the media they are involved with, including music. Don’t be a stranger in their lives. When my neighbor’s daughter was younger, especially during school breaks, and Friday nights I would go over there and we would watch movies with her mom. We talked about the movie or show, and it was great having that bond.

Social media is a way to connect, same with computers, chat apps, but they can also be a danger, so as parents you want to set limits, this is why it is important from when they are young to get them to spend time outside, activities that don’t involve just passively being glued to a device all the time. Family time, mom and me time, dad and me time, all important to help counter the glued forever to the screen.

Celebrate milestones and traditions. Let’s say your kid has worked hard to bring up his/her grades, went from mainly c’s to mainly B+, celebrate and show appreciation for their hard work. Have a pizza night or go to a special park maybe and have a picnic. Find ways to celebrate achievements earned. Celebrate traditions of faith, of family in general, and if you don’t have traditions, create ones, beautiful ones. Honor and celebrate that.

Communication. Not everyone responds to the same style of communication. If you have a kid, or a few kids one thing that is important is figuring out what works best with that kid. Preteens don’t appreciate lots of intrusive questions or parents trying to solve their problems directly. They have that embarrassment factor going on. If mom or dad calls the parent of someone they said they were having a bit of an issue with, might not be appreciated. However, listening and being willing to offer some tips for dealing with it, yes that would most likely be okay. Also, some people they have a personality that would not appreciate discussing things in front of the whole family, need private one on one discussion times. It’s important to honor that, respect their communication style based on their personality.

Connection even with parents and kids has to be nurtured like any relationship and there are different ways to do that. Be Involved, really get to know them, without being a hovering hawk 24/7.


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