7 Ways to Fix Rude Tween Behavior
Tips to deal with your child's attitude as she grows into a teenager
Set Aside Some Face Time Take your tween out for breakfast or invite him along to walk the dog, just the two of you. Don't push an agenda, but do let your child lead the conversation, even if he just wants to chatter on about that DS game he's jonesing for. You never know where the conversation might lead -- and even if it goes nowhere, you'll get points for listening.
Along the same vein, be ready to talk when your tween needs to. Sometimes Anna will wander in while I'm working on the computer to lament some schism with a friend at school, say. I'll make a pointed effort to stop what I'm doing and pay complete attention to what she's telling me. Even 20 minutes of focused conversation, I've found, does a lot of good, showing her that I do care about what she's going through and that I take it seriously. If I'm right in the middle of something, I'll make an "appointment" to meet with her downstairs in half an hour. I'll put on the kettle (in our household, a cup of tea represents calm and comfort), and we'll talk about whatever's on her mind then.
Ultimately, experts point out, your tween will continue to come to you if he knows you're likely to listen to him without jumping in to judge unimportant details.
Fan the Home Fires As much as your child wants (and needs) to begin separating from Mom and Dad, he's still a kid and wants (and needs) to have a safety net. So provide one, as Hess did. When she felt extracurricular activities were pulling her kids too far out of the family fold, she designated Tuesdays as "Family Night, " meaning no friends, no activities, no computers, no texting, no video games. "The entire family hangs out and cooks together and plays games, with no outside influence," she says. "It reminds them that they're part of a family where they're okay just as themselves. They don't have to be anything else."
Julie Tilsner chronicles her "messy, messy life" as the mom of an 8- and 12-year-old on her blog, badhomecooking.com.