A Survival Guide for Parenting Male TweensPosted: April 21, 2011
Boy Basics 101 A Survival Guide for Parenting Male Tweens
By Kendeyl Johansen
Messy rooms, arguments and peer pressure: Parenting a tween boy might seem like it causes prematurely graying hair. Believe it or not, with our tips and plenty of good humor, it’s possible to enjoy life with a male tween.
Support Independence Days
Preteen boys are reaching for independence, and this causes frustration if parents aren’t prepared for the behavior. “Control can feel like it’s slipping away unless parents expect that and follow along with the children as they seek independence,” says Bonnie Harris, M.S. Ed., author of When Your Kids Push Your Buttons: And What You Can Do About It (Warner Books, April 2003). “If you expect a preteen to always listen and do exactly what you say, buttons are going to get pushed.”
To avoid conflict and verbal fireworks, Harris advises taking responsibility for your own buttons. “Rather than blaming children for pushing your buttons, become aware of your buttons (fears, judgments, criticisms) and diffuse them by understanding why they upset you and why your child is behaving a certain way,” she says.
Kara Wales of Park City, Utah, mom to 10-year-old Garrett, wanted to order him to change when he dressed for school in a loose-fitting tank top and baggy shorts. “I disliked the sloppy way he looked, but I took a breath and made myself slow down,” she says. “It’s not what we wore to school, but it’s what his friends wear now, and they’re all good kids. I let him get away with it.”
Wales had the courage to face her fear that people would think she was a bad mom for letting her son dress so casually. And she deactivated her button by realizing styles had changed and her son wasn’t trying to make her crazy – he just wanted to fit in.