Surviving the Preteen years



Boy Holding Tree Trunk Looking DownThere is a growing debate surrounding the preteens solitude. Today, mass media makes it tough to control what influences your child imbibes. In addition, technology provides the world countless ways of reaching your child. Beyond telephones and snail mail, now they’ve cellphones, email, instant messaging and the internet! We parents can not help but worry about just what our children are up to.
Now, reconcile this with your preteen. If you’ve got a child between the ages of nine and twelve, you must be feeling the challenges of preteen parenting. Suddenly, your child does not want to be treated as her younger siblings. She wants more independence, and is starting to ask for more privacy. She is greatly influenced by her peers, and would love to spend as much time together as possible. If she’s in middle school, then almost half of her waking time is spent outside your home. She’s also building friendships with other children that you did not know from before.
All those years earlier, you carefully molded and ready your child for engaging the world on her own. The question is, are you ready to trust your kid?
Most parents say, “I trust my child, but I do not trust the world”. That’s valid. However, recognize too that your child is also blossoming into her own person. Her request for privacy isn’t necessarily a step away from you. Rather, it is a step toward her own development.
So, just how much privacy does your preteen deserve? Here is the win-win answer. She should have just enough privacy to feel protected, and only enough for you to keep her safe.
Establish The Non-Negotiables: Sit down with your child and talk about the balance between her solitude and her protection. Collectively, list down details which you agree are always important for you to know. This includes knowing who her friends are, Animals in the Attic Brevardwhere they live and what their phone numbers are (particularly if she spends time in their home). You’ll also have to know everyday details like where she’s going and who she will be with. Clearly establish what is not allowed from the beginning. This can vary from one household to another, depending upon personal values and the environment.
Give Her Space: However ironic, realize that your preteen still needs some privacy even if she does live in your house. Better to give her room for self-expression there, rather than having her go and do it somewhere else away from you. At least there, you are kept conscious even from a distance. More often than not anyway, your child has nothing to hide. However, if she feels you always looking over her shoulder (literally and figuratively), she just might begin leaving her journal at school, or begin heading to a friend’s house for the world wide web. Do not give her a reason to keep things from you deliberately.
Talk About Trust: Discuss with your child the important role of mutual confidence in the preteen stage. Point out that privacy is protected by trust. Remind her too that trust is hard earned. Once it’s broken, it is even more difficult to regain. Lastly, bear in mind that the point of the discussion is mutual trust. It’s a two-way street.
If you sneak around reading your child’s email, think about the message that sends to her on how confidence ought to be valued.
Be Open: Above all, let your child know that she can talk to you about anything. Make her feel safe to approach you with any problem or concern. Create an open atmosphere where she can be honest with you without fear of being judged. When she does talk, listen neutrally and sincerely. If at all times she keeps her emotions to herself, respect that choice too.
Recognizing the privacy and ensuring the safety of your preteen can be quite an emotional balancing act.
During your child’s preteen phases, many changes are occurring. If you, as a parent, fail to go along with this, big troubles may just happen. However, you can not afford to just butt in and meddle with your pre-teen’s life – because that is where the problem really starts.



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