Parenting a tween is a whole new ball of wax. It happens suddenly and without warning. You go from having a sweet little person who constantly follows you around full of love and adoration to a person who suddenly needs privacy, has much less tolerance of just about everything and likes you some of the time. These 6 effective tips for praising your tween will help build into your relationship as you navigate a whole new phase of parenting.
Today’s post was written by Kris, a guest blogger who blogs at Just Your Average Momma. I think you’ll enjoy what she has to offer and hope you will check out her site for more great content.
Frankly parenting a pre-teen sometimes it is exhausting, but this is when you need to solidify your relationship. They are changing and they expect you not to change. They have become more clever. They recognize insincerity. They need to trust and value their relationship with you in order to recognize its’ importance. A strong relationship during the middle school years makes for a strong relationship during high school.
Sincere praise can build trust and appreciation. Here are 5 ways to foster your relationship with your tween.
Praise the Process Not the Result
Tweens are already overwhelmed with emotions, hormones, peer pressure and pressure from us. Instead of making them result focused, praise the process. “You studied really hard for that test you deserve that grade,” or “Wow you put so much effort into cleaning the dishes. I really appreciate your hard work and contribution to the family” are better ways to praise.
Praise the Inside not the Outside
Do you remember Jr. High? Was there a time when you had lower self-esteem? Tweens are already sooooo self conscious about their appearance, what they wear, how their hair looks, what type of backpack they have, etc. Let them know appearances are based on substance. When your daughter get’s dressed don’t tell her she looks cute. Tell her, “That is a great outfit. It really fits your fun personality,” or “You have a great sense of style, how did you come up with that outfit?” Further, praise the character qualities you see in them.
Praise your Spouse Often, in Front of your Tween
Tweens are feeling insecure about basically everything. They need the security of knowing you are united. They need to see and hear that you respect each other. “You father is a wise man and I support his position on this,” is a great response when a child questions your spouse. Support your spouse’s decisions, even if you don’t agree. You and your spouse can always discuss the decision in private. This kind of praise will cause much eye rolling from your tween, but they will be better for it in the long run.
Praise Your Child’s Friends – Even the Ones You are not Crazy About
Tweens need and appreciate your acceptance. They want you to like their friends. This is also a great way to let them know the type of behavior you appreciate without nagging them. Say things like, “I really appreciate how polite Jolene has been lately,” or “It must be nice to have a friend who is so kind to you.”
Praise their Opinions
This does not have to be a verbal “Great idea!” Tweens appreciate non-verbal recognition. This is an opportunity to develop trust. Tweens crave to be heard so give them the opportunity. Ask them their opinion. ” What earrings should i wear with this shirt”? or “Did you see how that driver yelled at that person, what do you think of that?” If you do feel compelled to praise their opinion be specific. “I never would have thought of putting those earrings with that blouse. I like it!”
Praise God – All the Time, In Every Circumstance, Good or Bad.
Let your child know that God is your pilot, not your co-pilot and that you completely trust Him. If you trust God then your tween will eventually completely trust God instead of trusting the world. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”
Enjoy spending time with your amazing tween. This can be a wonderful time as you watch them navigate into the person they are choosing to become. Be their rock during this time. They need you more than ever.
Meet “Just Your Average Momma”
Kris Moriarty is a full time working mother of 3 teenage boys and 1 tween girl. She is married to a man she calls Mr. Incredible. Her blog, Just Your Average Momma, is about Faith, Family, Food, Fashion and Beer (all of her favorite things in one place). She is taking her average hands on experience and passing it along to all of you average mommas. Kris says,”We are all in this together, we need a community of real mommas, not the ones we see on social media” Check out her blog http://www.justyouraveragemomma.com/?page_id=274