As a parent, you want your kids to feel comfortable coming to you for support and advice. As they become pre-teens or “tweens,” this can become especially tricky because of budding hormones, an ever-expanding social circle, and their desire to have more independence. Do you ever wish you knew exactly what your tween was thinking? We asked a few 10-12 year-olds the question, “What do you wish your parents knew?” and here is what they said.
10 Things Your Tween Wants You To Know
It might seem like we are suddenly too cool to hang out with our parents, but quality time with them is more important to us now than ever. We would love to spend some one-on-one time with each parent doing something we enjoy, or just getting lunch or a drink at Starbucks together and talking. We are going through a lot right now and really just want to know that our parents are there for us when we need them no matter what.
Also, we would rather our mom not use the “mom voice” and just use the same tone she would use with her own friends.
It can be hard to make friends. It would be good for parents to sit down with their tweens and tell them to just be themselves and if people do not like them for who they are, then they should not care about them. Sometimes we just need to feel supported and be reminded to be who we are and that people will like us for that.
Responsibility And Freedom
We feel trusted when we are given a little room to roam. We enjoy doing independent things, like going to a movie with a friend without parents and little brothers or sisters with us. We like to know that our Mom or Dad is close by if we need them though.
If we say we are struggling with a subject, we really mean it! We do not need our parents to do our work for us, and we definitely do not want them to call or email the teacher at the first sign of a problem, but we do need help sometimes. We would rather hear suggestions and then be allowed to do the work on our own. There is a lot of pressure to do well at school. Add the friend drama to that, and school can be super stressful.
We really need time to unwind at the end of the school day. We have to work nonstop at school all day and it is really nice to have a little time when we get home at the end of the day to just relax.
We like to know exactly where we stand. When parents are inconsistent or do not explain the rules, it really frustrates us. If a rule is non-negotiable, we can accept it, but we also feel like we should be allowed to make a case against rules that we do not agree with. Even if the answer is still “no,” it means more if our parents are willing to hear us out.
We really do need our devices. When we say that “everyone in school has a phone” it is actually true. Everyone has one. We use them for homework, classwork, and for fun. Sometimes tweens and teenagers can spend too much time on our phones, but that is because we can do so much on them! We might groan and complain when parents give us limits on how much time we can use them, but we would rather have limits than not have one at all.
We love video games. There are games that we really like and get really involved in. Adults say that video games are a waste of time or are bad for us, but a lot of the time we are playing with our friends. Video games are a big way of how our generation spends time and socializes. It is okay to set limits on how much time we can play or even what games we can play, but just saying they are bad and not letting us play with them does not seem fair.
There are times when we can get really into a game and not realize how mad we are when something bad happens to us in the game. When we start getting mad like that, it is probably a good idea to tell us to take a break for a while. We might get annoyed when you tell us to take a break, but it really is for the best and we cannot always make ourselves walk away when we feel like that.
Some video games are violent or can be pretty scary. Kids need to be aware of what they can handle and not get games that are too scary for them. If they get a game that is too scary, it is okay to admit it is too scary and not to play it, but our parents need to be understanding about it and not make us feel bad about buying a game we do not want to play or say we spent money we did not need to.
Interacting with our friends online is important to us – we like to be part of things and not feel like we are being left out. Sometimes kids do bully other kids on social media. Some schools even have Facebook or Instagram pages where students interact. Kids need to know that when they are being bullied, they can and need to block those people. Parents should show us how to be safe online, like setting our accounts to private so people who are just trying to be mean cannot follow us or comment on our page, instead of just banning everything.
Talking about puberty can be awkward for both kids and parents, but we would rather have accurate information than being left to search out information on the internet or having our friends tell us stuff. We want to be able to come to our parents and talk through our questions, as long as they promise not to laugh or get embarrassed or mad about the things we ask. It is also good to remind us that puberty is something all tweens go through. It is totally normal, so we should not be uncomfortable talking about it.
Most of us have no clue what we want to do when we grow up or even where we want to go to college. We just want to enjoy being a kid for a couple more years. Once we get to high school, we will be ready to talk more seriously about college and things like that. We appreciate when our parents say stuff like, “You would make a great doctor,” but we would like to make our own decisions about our future in our own time. Encouragement is great, but when parents compare us to themselves or insist that we follow a certain path, it makes us feel like our own goals are not good enough.
Hopefully, these responses gave you a glimpse into what an average tween is feeling and experiencing. Perhaps ask your own tween the same question (and maybe admit that you might indeed have a mom voice!). If your kiddo has a hard time opening up, try sweetening the deal with an ice cream outing, or chatting in the car where you can have a casual conversation without having to make eye contact. The object is to get them into their comfort zone so they can really spill the beans.
As they grow into teenagers and eventually adults, these conversations will be touchstones to remind them that you are always there to listen, which is over and over what they want you to know.
WANT TO READ MORE?
Check out this article on how to Chat With Your Teen Or Tween About Shapchat Safety
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