Ah, yes! The “tween” years have arrived. Remember that sweet and adorable 10-year-old? He has ceased to exist. He’s been replaced by a preadolescent that you hardly recognize as the same child that you’ve raised up to this point in time.
The preadolescent years (12-14) are a tumultuous time in the human life cycle. Your child is no longer a child, and yet you can’t call him an adult. He doesn’t even qualify as a teenager. It’s that “awkward” age between childhood and the teen years, or what has come to be called the “tweens.” Your parenting skills are going to be sorely tried!
This is the time of life when your child is about to be presented with all kinds of choices. Big choices! Important choices! He’ll be faced with peer pressure to try alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs. He’ll also be faced with peer pressure to engage in sexual activity. It’s during these “tween” years that your child is most likely to develop eating disorders and become depressed.
It’s important that parents discuss choices openly and honestly with their “tweens.” You’ll need to approach these subjects with care. Your “tween” is super concerned about body image now. He’s moody and preoccupied. He’s anxious. Schoolwork has become more demanding, and he’s fixated on his relationships.
Try to encourage your “tween” to stay physically active. Family meal times become more important than they have ever been before. You need to lead but not drive your preteen-ager, and you really need to listen with both ears when your preteen talks. His opinions need to be respected.
It’s time to give him the tools he needs to resist peer pressure, and a good, solid family support system is the best tool he can have.