I wanted to share some of the posts I've read online recently (plus a video!) that offer helpful info for parenting tweens and teens, and a bit of encouragement, too. These touch on a variety of topics, from technology and digital parenting to travel to family movie night and more.
If you're wondering why you're stressed or at wit's end when it comes to your tweens and teens:
We’re the most prepared moms ever, but one stage of parenting throws nearly all of us for a loop, this researcher says by Paula Spencer Scott on Kinstantly
"'In the field of child development, there’s an overwhelming emphasis on infancy and early childhood, which makes sense—it’s critical. But a whole set of formidable challenges comes at ages 12, 13, 14 that nothing has prepared you for,' [Arizona State University professor of psychology Suniya] Luthar told me. (She’s also a mother of two in their early 20s, so she’s been through it personally, too.) 'We need as mothers to begin to understand the enormous complexity and weightiness of what lies ahead in this developmental stage.'
... Here’s the good news: These years aren’t one endless slog. Tweens and teens—even middle-schoolers—can be a delight, at least sometimes! Luthar’s research paints a broad-strokes picture of how we all grow and change. Eventually, middle school slides into high school and then adulthood. We all adjust and get through."
If you're wanting some insight into what your teen is thinking:
"Adolescents push boundaries. Even teenagers who get straight A’s, come home on time and treat their parents with respect…occasionally push boundaries. Teens have a need to explore their worlds, try on their ideas and test what you’ve told them is what they believe. Within reason, this is a way of becoming an individual. Pay attention, but don’t label them ‘good’ or ‘bad’ because they don’t conform 100% of the time to your ideas.
Strive instead to have an open conversation rather than a ‘my way, because I said so’ lecture. If you have an open dialogue, you can interject ways of thinking that allows them their way of getting there. I suggest (unless it’s dangerous) you end each of these conversations with, 'You know, I’ve seen you maturing, you’ll make the right choice. If you need help, let me know.'"
If you're worried your kids are addicted to their screens:
Tech Addiction: A Parent's Biggest Fear by Michelle Ciulla Lipkin on CyberWise
"If you are concerned that your kid won’t be able to have face-to-face conversations, then, I know it sounds crazy, have face-to-face conversations with them. A perfect time to do that is at the dinner table. Or at night before they go to bed. My kids love to talk just as my day is winding down!
If you think they should be reading more or going outside more, then set up your family schedule so that there is time for those things for everyone. Take a hike on a Saturday together. Read together. Plan a vacation at a place with lame Wi-Fi. My kids are seeing a lot of National Parks these days!
If balance is what you seek, stop thinking about it in terms of 'taking away technology' and think of it as 'putting other valuable experiences into their lives.' I assure you that you will not mind when your son is playing video games all afternoon if you know he played soccer in the morning and he read for an hour last night."
If you're preparing for Spring Break or summer travels as a family:
7+ Tips For Traveling with Teens by on Ten to Twenty Parenting
"[M]any teenagers have trouble with getting out of bed in the morning. Try to accommodate that: don’t plan activities for early in the morning. Instead, go take a dip in the pool or a walk around the neighborhood while your child sleeps late. It’ll make for a much less grumpy attitude once she does wake up.At the same time, breakfast is key for a growing teenager, especially for a boy. Wake him up with enough time to catch the end of breakfast hours, or ask your hotel to pack up a box breakfast for him. I like to let my son pig out if breakfast is included because it saves me money over the rest of the day."
If you're seeking guidance on raising a digital kid without having been one yourself, or if you'd rather watch than read:
Raising a digital kid without having been one by Galit Breen from TEDxEdina
"Just like we teach our kids those hundreds and thousands of other things that we do, we can teach them how to be online. We can teach them that there's a difference between intent and impact. How loud and permanent the internet is, there is no such thing as online privacy but there is a difference between fighting issues and people. and we can teach them that on the other side of every single interaction they have online is a real human being."
How ’80s Movies Can Help Us Parent Our Teens And Tweens by Christine Burke on Club Mid
"We learned poetry from secret societies, rankled at anti-Semitism in boarding schools, and yearned for a time when masked men said, 'As you wish.' Life was simpler when viewed through a John Hughes haze, and I daresay no other movie genre can claim as many devoted fans. Be honest: Didn’t you dream at least once of having John Cusack standing outside your window with a boom box?"
Love that it offers specific movies for common issues facing teens.
Please feel free to share links in the comments of favorite parenting posts that you've read recently! Thanks!
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