You suspect your kiddo is becoming a preteen. They’ve become more independent. Maybe they babysit? Perhaps they’re cooking meals? They’re probably spending time with friends and requesting a little more space.
Just when you think things are going to get easier (no more diapers, no more two year old tantrums) you get to deal with some good ol’ fashioned hormones.
You may notice that your kiddo is getting to be a bit more on the moody side these days. To be honest, it’s understandable. You know those times throughout the month when you’re unreasonably angry and sad and happy all at the same time? That’s how a preteen feels all the time right now.
These are some suggestions for how to deal with your preteen. Please remember that I’m no child psychologist or professional child development specialist, but these are what I find works based on experience.
A.sk your preteen if they want to talk
Sometimes it takes a little bit of prompting to get your preteen to talk to you. Definitely don’t push the matter, but opening up the opportunity may be just what they need to be able to get some stuff off of their chest.
H.ave open and honest conversation with them
If your preteen does decide that they’d like to talk be as open and honest with them as possible. They may share some things with you that you’re uncomfortable with; avoid being blatantly uncomfortable. You are their safe space. If you don’t think you can deal with uncomfortable conversation with your preteen try and find someone who may have an easier time.
Your kiddo NEEDS A HUG! Just the offer of a hug may be enough, but often times your preteen will be all over the chance of an embrace. Hold them until they let go- they’ll let you know when they’re done their hug.
H.ear what they’re saying to you
When your preteen is talking to you make sure you are actively listening. They’re trying to communicate with you about their experience the best that they can. Show them that you’re listening by paraphrasing what they’re saying and say it back to them.
O.ffer your own personal experience
You are your child’s idol (despite the angst currently being directed your way). When you can offer insight into your own personal experience of preteen life they get a little more assurance that a) you’re genuinely empathizing with them during their challenging time, and b) you’re a human being, and not just a parent.
R.emind them that this hormonal shift is normal
While you explain to your preteen that their daily mood swings and physical changes once happened to you, also explain that they happen to EVERYONE! Puberty is a shift that occurs at one point in everyone’s life. All of their feelings are totally normal!
Periodically ask if your child wants to chat and always mention that you’re available to talk at any time.
It can be easy to be overbearing when it comes to making sure your kiddo is doing alright. Instead of constantly asking them if they’re okay or offering hugs at every turn keep your eye on them. You know your child and can likely tell when they need a bit of extra TLC.
N.ecessitate breaks for yourself
Ooooh you’re starting to have a bit of sympathy towards your own parents, eh? Living with a preteen is no walk in the park (just ask your folks). You’ll be required to give a lot of yourself to your preteen in this time and it can be draining. Make sure you’re giving yourself some love and attention, too.
E.ncourage your preteen
This hormonal change is but a blip in life. Soon enough, your preteen will regulate and life will be easier. Keep letting them know that it’s going to be okay.
S.eek out resources
It’s probably been a while since you were a preteen, yes? It’s likely you’ve forgotten a lot about what it’s like to be a preteen and you may need to brush up on your latest preteen info. My go-to person for all things preteen is Sexual Health with Sam!
Life as a preteen, and life living with a preteen can be tumultuous. Using some of the “AHHORMONES” suggestions above you may be able to make it a little bit of a smoother transition for everyone.
What did you find helped you with your child?