Thursday, December 22, 2011

Communicating With Tweens

We recently came across a rather harshly-worded article about communication between parents and children. While the author focused mainly on communicating with young children and the manifestations of those behaviors in later years, we felt that one line particular rang true when communicating with tweens, "In the parent/child relationship, communication is entirely…hear this…ENTIRELY the responsibility of the parent."

Personally, this was a great reminder for us especially during the holiday season (which, let's face it,  can be a stressful time of year with all the comings and goings and inter-generational family gatherings). It was sort of a wake-up call to remind us that as mature as our tweens can appear (especially in contrast to younger siblings), at times we place undue burden on them to articulate their needs and feelings. They're more capable of it than school and toddler-age kids, of course, but they're also still learning how and when to speak their mind - or even to sort through their feelings to figure out how they feel. Tween girls can be a moody bunch with a sullen long face in the morning that morphs seemingly instantly to a shiny happy face by lunch. In the abstract, we parents can remember that they're still sorting through who they are and cut them that slack, but in the day-to-day, I know that I lose sight of it.

We've written before about those teachable moments and life lessons that our tweens learn from parents' behaviors and responses, and while the seeds of communication were most certainly sown at a very young age, behaviors are still malleable in the tween years. Thank heavens for that. We hope that you and your tweens have a happy, healthy, and calm holiday season.

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