There's nothing easy about being a pre-teen: changing bodies, struggling self-esteem, raging hormones, and mood swings are by no means walks in the park. It can be just as hard to live with a pre-teen, particularly because not so long ago that mood monster was an adorable, talkative, loving child. Take heart parents! The parents of Parent Soup are working together to find ways to make the middle school years easier for everyone involved. Below are the best suggestions for making the road a little smoother for you and your pre-teen.
"To show a pre-teen that you trust them, let them go out with their friends to a special function, such as a school dance, by themselves and tell them you will pick them up afterwards. If you instill trust early on it is much easier to keep when they actually become teens. Of course the school dances are supervised, but the child still thinks they are out alone, and that you trusted them to use their common sense."
~ Parent Soup member Jeff
Choose Your Battles
"I have a 12-year-old daughter, and the best advice I have heard on getting along with her was in a parenting class. The advisor in the class really stressed choosing your battles. Not always the easiest thing to do, because sometimes you just itch to jump in and say 'No way' or 'Absolutely not.' But I've found that some of the things I was automatically saying no to were silly little things that really didn't matter in the grand scheme of things. I've also found that giving my daughter the chance to come up with compromises was interesting too. It's amazing what kind of creative ideas she can come up with. As an example, my daughter really liked the small earring that sits at the top of the ear that some other kids were wearing. A friend of mine at work has that type of earring and I explained to my daughter some of the problems my co-worker had with that particular ear pierce (infection, soreness, uncomfortable to sleep on). I also took my daughter in to the mall and had her check out the prices as this would come out of her allowance, not my checkbook. After weeks of mulling it over, my daughter finally opted to buy a small clip-on gold hoop, without having to get that extra hole in her ear. And it only cost her five dollars. I was extremely pleased with this option, as I really wasn't thrilled at her getting her ear pierced again. And of course, if I'd just said 'No way, forget it,' she'd still be fighting me to get it pierced. I decided it wasn't important enough to fight over. I'm saving that battle for other things (like tattoos or dating or other stuff that I am not willing to budge on)."
~ Parent Soup member Sami0910