As usual, I’m writing this post because I need regularly reminding of a few things. Elsa is turning into a teen. She’s only nine but is so flippin grumpy at times, we don’t know what to do with her.
I don’t really like made up terms or phrases but PRE-TEEN is most definitely what Elsa is masquerading as. All the characteristics of a lovely young girl “turning”. Like some sort of werwolf in a horror movie, she’s evidencing behaviours and attitudes that never used to be there. Insolence, sarcasm, rudeness, irrationality. Then half an hour later she’ll flip back to adorable Elsa and we’re all good again. WTF!? Is this it now? What we have to contend with until she goes to university?! Please tell me not!
So I’ve done some research and have compiled a list of ten ways to cope with a pre-teen.
- Make special time for your child
Elsa loves it when Joe and I take her out for dinner. Just the three of us, when Jude and Emmeline are at home in bed with a babysitter looking after them. I guess it makes her feel grown up which I can understand. We always have a lovely time so perhaps should do this more often.
- Accept their new found independence
So Elsa loves when she’s able to plan her own day and will happily chat in her room on FaceTime with her friends. I don’t probe and don’t take it personally when she doesn’t want to spend as much time with me as she used to. Forcing information out of her isn’t going to help anyone so I try to embrace the (very little) detail she shares.
Elsa’s learning decision making and that’s a pretty cool skill to possess.
Elsa is growing up but still loves to play with her siblings and reads Emmeline stories in bed. It’s very cute.
- Answer questions honestly
I can’t stand it when parents fob their children off with lies. What’s the point? They want to understand the world and as parents, we need to help them. There are so many awesome books out there that can answer awkward questions in a child-focused way which can take away the pressure on you to think of a decent response.
- Let your child know they can talk but don’t push the direct questions
I’m slowly finding out that the less I ask, the more I get. I’ve started to tell Elsa that if she wants to talk about anything from her day then I’d love to hear it, then I just leave it. Or ask open questions “what was the most exciting part of your day?”
- Check their tablets!
Your child can use a tablet or smart phone much more astutely than you think. At night, I’ll scroll through her internet pages to make sure she’s safe. Elsa doesn’t like that I do this but I’ve explained why and she accepts I have to.
- Give responsibilities
Maybe it’s just Elsa but she loves to be given a list of chores. Is it because she’s a list loving geek like me or because she wants the responsibility of growing up?
- Explain what is acceptable
Yes, they are developing strong independent and “grown up” skills however, it’s important to remind them of what is acceptable behaviour. Easier said than done I’m sure BUT remain polite (!) and respectful and if you really need to, scream into a pillow.
- Let them learn from you
You don’t have to be perfect, it’s fine to make mistakes. Own up to them, apologise and move on. Your child will learn that it’s an acceptable part of life to face up to what you have done.
- Ask their opinion
I’m often amazed by the fantastic ideas Elsa comes up with. If they have a problem to solve, don’t bombard them with what YOU think they should do. Ask if your child has any ideas of what may help. It could open up those conversational gates…
- Speak to friends!
Elsa’s friends parents and I are always discussing our feelings, things that are going on, etc. It’s great to know you aren’t alone and that other people are experiencing what you are too. Bounce ideas off one another, you’ll instantly feel better from being in that group mentality.
So this is the list I’m gripping on to. Do you have anything to add? Help meeeeeee!!!