Nowadays, it is very common to hear stories about parents having problems dealing with their 11 to 14-year-old. They would often share with me how hard it is to get their child to do simple tasks or ask them questions without the child reacting badly.
Some would also share stories about their children changing completely once they hit their tween years. A few would say they are ignored by their tweens completely no matter what they say. I can understand their frustrations.
If you are a parent of a budding tween, these stories can be disheartening. You took a lot of time to teach them how to act right, but they would act brashly as they become older.
Fortunately, there are ways to prevent your tween from acting up at home and here are the things you need to know.
What is a Tween?
Many experts are divided about what a tween is, especially when it starts. But, usually, tweens are any child who is around 9 to 14 years old and currently exhibiting signs of behavioural change.
Why is Tween Behaviour so Erratic?
As a child grows up from their childhood years and inch closer to their teenage years, they would start trying to become independent. They will try to do things on their own without asking for help or approval.
While being independent is good, tweens are still immature to make the right decisions.
An important part of the brain that deals with decision-making are still not developed at this stage. They also lack the necessary information about the world, which can get them into trouble. Very much like me when I was at their age.
If left alone and undisciplined, your child may find themselves developing bad behaviour and lead to life-changing decisions they are not ready for.
Ways to Prevent Tween Behavior Problems at Home
Getting your tween back on track and disciplining them is tricky. You have to be smart when disciplining your tween and act from the start.
Here are my 9 ways you can curb your tween’s behaviour problems at home:
#1 Set the rules
As your tween or teen begins to push for independence, they will try their best to push the boundaries to see what actions will get you to react.
Before they do this, immediately lay the rules before them and what consequences they will face for their behaviour.
I’ll suggest that you peak to your tween about your rules and the punishments so they won’t be resistant to them. But, always remember that you have the final say when you are disciplining your tween.
#2 Write your rules on paper
When your tween misbehaves, they will definitely use lots of excuses just to escape punishment. This may include them saying you do not have a proof that it is included in your rules.
As such, write your rules on paper and display it in an area your tween and yourself can read regularly. I recommend listing down all the rules, rewards and punishments on the paper and point it to your tween when they put a toe out of line.
#3 Be consistent with enforcing your rules
Tweens tend to become more proficient with getting away from punishment everytime they misbehave. If you let them off once, they will become bolder and do it again.
Before they think about disobeying your rules, stand firm and enforce your rules diligently.
You should also speak to your spouse about the way they discipline your tween. If one parent allows the tween to go free from their transgression and the other doesn’t, the tween will know who to speak to next time.
Of course, don’t always be too strict with them because they may say you are controlling them too much.
You don’t want to start grooming a rebel at home!
#4 Identify which rules are non-negotiable
When your tween tries to request for certain leeways or demands, take time to consider them. If it is not a bad request, don’t hesitate to give in.
But, if the demand has potential consequences or if your danger senses are tingling, remain firm with your rules.
Let me give you an example: if your child asks if they can go out with their friends, you can permit them. But, you should add that they are not allowed to drink or smoke and they have to be home at a certain time.
It shows that you trust them and respect that they have personal lives too!
#5 Be a model
For every child, their parents are their number one role models and they would try their best to copy what you do. If you want your child to be polite, but you are not, they will use you as a reason why they should be allowed to misbehave.
If you want to nip your child’s rebellious streak early on, embody the rules and lessons you are trying to teach them and let it show through your actions.
Actions do speak louder than words!
#6 Teach your tween about responsibility
If your tween starts seeking freedom, you should teach them how to make the right decisions. Take them aside and teach them what their actions can lead to.
Tell them not to rush their decisions because they are still young and not ready.
I suggest teaching your children that making mistakes is a part of life and learn from them to avoid making it again in the future.
#7 Get involved and monitor your tween
Even if your tween wants you to leave them alone, keep a close eye on them. Don’t be on their case 24/7, but, be a part of their lives. Ask them about their day and check if something is troubling them.
Some signs that can alert you of your child’s plight are their erratic sleeping patterns or complaints of sudden body pain. Ask a doctor for help, and if necessary, bring them to a psychologist.
#8 Do not judge your tween
Every one of us has been a tween at some point so do not judge them while they struggle with life.
That issue that has been bothering them for days might seem trivial to you but it can mean the whole world for him. So don’t go all judgy on your child!
#9 Lend a compassionate ear
Even if your child wants to gain their independence, they need someone to talk to when tween problems come into play.
Show your tween that you are willing to listen to their problems and share your own experiences. Don’t be afraid to speak about sensitive issues with them so they know how to deal with it.
As our children become tweens, they will need all the help they can get to make the right decisions as they try to stand on their own two feet.
As parents, it is our responsibility to help them get through this phase and lead them to the right track. Take some time off to speak to your tweens and be the steady hand that they need.
For related teenagers’ issues, you may like to check these articles:
What To Do When Your Teen Resists Your Help
10 Steps On How To Mentor Troubled Teens