As doctors, we are very well versed in talking about bodies, puberty and sex. In the office and amongst friends, we hear parents having difficulty using correct names for body parts and explaining how babies are made. We noticed that these amazing moms and dads, out of fear for saying the wrong thing, retreated to saying nothing at all.
At Turning Teen, we strongly believe in helping parents start these conversations with their children. We aim to provide direct, informative and honest information about puberty and sexuality.
When your child is changing, then your parenting style needs to change too.
Listen to what she is saying. Just listen…you don’t always have to talk.
Even if she is trying to push you away, stand your ground and push your way back in. If you back off, she may interpret that as you giving up on her, or not loving her. Stay strong and stay connected.
Empathize with her. Remember how difficult it was being a tween? It’s even harder these days. Validate her feelings and then help her work through them. Remind her “this too shall pass”.
Give her some independence. It’s OK to let her take flight on her own. We learn from our OWN FAILURES. Your job is not to clear the path in front of your child, your job is to be a safety net once they’ve fallen.
Spend time with her. Quality time. Face time (in person face time!)
Find time in her busy life to schedule sleep. She needs at least 8 hours of sleep a night! Lack of sleep will affect her in so many negative ways.
Be prepared for tantrums bigger and uglier than the Terrible Twos. Just expect them…don’t get overly upset or involved in them. Tween brains are still trying to figure out how to express themselves. Use time outs for you and her!
Remember to take a deep breath. Especially before you decide how to react to one of her dramatic moments. You need to show self-control because as parents, we need to model appropriate behavior.
Love her. Hug her (don’t lose that physical connection!). Support her. Help her. Adolescence is confusing, and she needs you in her corner every step of the way….even when she tells you she doesn’t.