As children grow into tweens, their needs and behaviors start to change, and parenting becomes more complex. Tweens are not quite children anymore, but not yet teenagers. This stage of development comes with its unique challenges. Many parents struggle to navigate this transitional period. They may make mistakes that can have negative effects on their children’s development. Here are seven common mistakes that parents make with tweens:
Treating tweens like little children
Parents who continue to treat their tweens like they are still little children can damage their children’s self-esteem and harm their relationship with them. Tweens are in the process of gaining independence and autonomy. They need their parents to recognize this and adjust their parenting style accordingly. Parents who fail to do this can create resentment in their tweens, leading to conflicts and rebellious behavior.
Failing to set clear boundaries
Tweens need structure and clear boundaries to feel safe and secure. Without them, tweens may feel overwhelmed and uncertain. Setting clear boundaries also helps tweens learn responsibility and self-discipline. Parents who fail to set boundaries may end up with tweens who engage in risky behavior. They can have difficulty adjusting to rules and expectations.
Being overly critical or negative
Tweens are at a sensitive stage in their lives, and negative comments or criticism can damage their self-esteem. Parents who are overly critical or negative towards their tweens may cause them to feel insecure and may lead to low self-esteem. Parents should provide positive feedback and encouragement to their tweens, even when they make mistakes.
Not listening or being dismissive
Tweens are beginning to form their own opinions and ideas about the world, and it is important for parents to listen to and respect their perspective. Being dismissive can make tweens feel unheard and unimportant. Parents should take the time to listen to their tweens’ concerns, opinions, and ideas. Even if they do not agree with them.
Comparing them to others
Tweens are at a stage where they are starting to become more aware of their peers and their place in social hierarchies. Comparing tweens to others can make them feel inadequate or anxious. Parents who make comparisons may cause their tweens to feel inferior or like they are not measuring up to their peers.
Not being consistent
Consistency is key when it comes to parenting tweens. Inconsistency can create confusion and mistrust and may lead to behavioral issues. Parents who are not consistent with their expectations and discipline may create a chaotic and unpredictable environment for their tweens.
Trying to be their friend instead of their parent
While it is important for parents to have a good relationship with their tweens, it is important to remember that parents are the authority figures and should prioritize their child’s safety and well-being above being their friend. Parents who try to be their tweens’ friends may compromise their ability to set boundaries and enforce rules, leading to conflict and misunderstandings.
Avoid common mistakes
Parenting tweens can be challenging, but avoiding these common mistakes can help parents foster healthy relationships with their children and promote their growth and development. By recognizing their tweens’ increasing independence, setting clear boundaries, providing positive feedback and encouragement, listening to their perspectives, avoiding comparisons, being consistent, and maintaining a parental role, parents can help their tweens navigate this critical stage of development and set them up for success in their teenage years and beyond.