Six Tips on Parenting your Pre-Teen

“What happened to my cuddly, adorable ten-year-old?”  a mum asked me recently in my children’s therapy clinic. “She used to be so loving and always wanting to hug me but now she doesn’t want much to do with me or her dad at all!”

I hear this an awful lot! All that’s happening is that your little darling is growing up and will soon be a teenager! Deep Joy I hear you say.

A child coming into adolescence is totally different to your child of 8, 9, 10 years old. The changes are happening fast – physical changes, emotional ones, and social differences are all there. He or she will be developing a new form of independence and will more than like start to push all boundaries and rules that you, as parents, have set.

In order for you to create a successful relationship when your child becomes a teen you are going to have start working on it right now – in this way you will have an easier ride throughout the transition.

Here are six tips that may help you:

  1. Put aside special time with your child. It’s quite difficult to get pre- teens to open up and chat with you but if you can put some time aside maybe even just once a week when you can have a really good talk with him, this will help a great deal. I often get children saying to me “I can’t talk to mum she is always on her phone or working!” Give him your undivided attention and see what a difference it makes.
  2. Don’t be too judgemental about their friends or things that you see children doing/wearing/saying on tv. Things like “I wouldn’t let you go out dressed like that”
  3. Talk to them about sex and drugs – children need to be told about them and its not unusual these days for children to start experimenting with drugs and alcohol at just nine and ten years old. We also see anorexia and other eating disorders rearing their head at this sort of age so its important that we give them the most important information.
  4. Don’t overreact! A good example of this is when a child comes home from school very upset because she hasn’t been invited to another girl’s party. She then shows her mum a photo of it on her “friends” Facebook and the mum says: “I am SO cross, I can’t believe she didn’t invite YOU sweetheart!” and the silly woman then proceeds to call the other girls mother, making the whole situation 100 per cent worse! It would be much better to say something like “ Sweetheart, I understand that you are upset, but there could be a very valid reason why you weren’t invited  – perhaps they had to limit the numbers for some reason eh? Let’s have our own party, shall we?”
  5. Try and encourage your pre-teen to do some sports as it’s really good for their self- esteem and body image.
  6. Be a great listener. Most times, a pre-teen won’t want your advice, but he WILL want you to listen. Just sit and listen to what he or she has to say, and then if necessary, ASK him what he needs from you. You will find he will then open up a lot more!

Communication is key!

It can be hard to find the right balance with your pre – teen, but if you communicate with him it will be well worth it. You need to develop a feeling of trust so that whatever happens they feel they can come to you and talk. Remember back to how YOU were at this age and what reactions you would have appreciated from your parents knowing what you know now!

Good luck, but if you would like some parenting sessions, just contact me at:

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