Parenting preteens

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out Archives' started by CanadianTeacher, Dec 16, 2005.

  1. CanadianTeacher

    CanadianTeacher Groupie

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    Dec 16, 2005

    I couldn't think of a better place to ask. The anonymity makes it much easier. I have a question about parenting preteens. My daughter is 12. She has always been a very low-maintenance child; very affectionate, understanding and accepting of others, wise beyond her years, and highly intelligent. We have a close family relationship at home (I also have a sone who's 10) with lots of open, honest communication. In the last 6 months or so, things have been changing so fast and it's scaring me to death. A year ago, family was the most important thing in her life. Now, her priorities are friends, music, family, in that order. She talks on the phone, goes to her friend's (she has one especially good friend whom she spends most of her time with, and I usually drop her off and pick her up), when she's home, she often goes off into her room. Sometimes she will still come down and talk my ear off about stuff going on at school, etc..., but I am feeling like as each day goes by I know less and less about her life, what she's feeling and thinking. For the most part, I know it's normal development, and I'm not really worried about her getting into any kind of trouble because I stay as involved as I possibly can and we are always open and accepting with our kids (within reason), but I feel like I'm struggling to hang on and maintain our close relationship (although there is no family conflict as in a lot of families with teens). My question is for those of you who have gone through this stage: How did you handle it? How did you find the line between reminding them that they are still a child and not all grown up, and giving them their space? I am so worried about either giving too much rope and missing something major, or not enough and losing even more communication. Sorry this is so long, but it helps to get it out. Any avice from some of you vets???
     
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  3. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Dec 17, 2005

    Congratulations! You have raised a wonderful daughter who is developmentally right on time. But, poor parent, it is a scary time. The whole time your daughter strikes out on her own in various ways (friends, alone time, music, testing you), she has inner doubts about the whole thing. Your job is to reassure her that, 1. it is important that she spread her wings, and 2. it is important that she value where she has come from. So, it is not all or nothing. She will probably fight you for reminding her often about the importance of family, but she needs you to do that to ground her to the strong underpinning of her life so far. Allow her enough appropriate freedom so that she can test her choices safely. Encourage her to grow in ways that are comfortable for her. Remind her that, because she has been raised well and is inherently a wonderful girl, you know that her conscience will always be a good guide. In other words, support her through the normal growing stage which includes finding out who she is beyond her role in her family, but also step in at times and reassert the importance of family. You will help her to stay close to you if you don't inhibit her natural need to expand her horizons. Good luck!
     
  4. boogaboo214

    boogaboo214 Companion

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    Dec 18, 2005

    You are right it is just normal. I am 20 and i work with 15 and 16 year olds and i am a full time student so here is the best advice I can give you with out being any kind of old fashioned, because this annoying to kids today(so I am told by the ones I work with) The kids at work use me to vent about their lives.Maintain the communication with out being pushy. Get to know her friends if you know her friends that she hangs out with then if you have pretty good judge of character you know what she is into. Invite them over take her and a friend to lunch or dinner or voleenteer to go shoping with them. at 12 it is still ok 15 is different.have mother/daughter days and mother/son days that you do special things together with your kids seperatly (movies are not good for talking and communicating) if they are at ease and you are just involved in casual conversation you can get more involved than you would be able to by just being a mom and not a friend form time to time. hope this helps.
     
  5. CanadianTeacher

    CanadianTeacher Groupie

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    Dec 19, 2005

    Thanks, Upsadaisy and Boogaboo214! It really is an emotional roller coaster (that feeling isn't just for teens, lol). Interestingly enough, just yesterday, we were coming home from shopping and somehow got into a conversation about all kinds of things, trivial and not. Somehow, the conversation naturally turned to give me an opportunity to remind her that she can talk to me about anything and that now is the time when she will be making more decisions for herself and I will have to trust her. I told her that I hope she always remembers the morals she's been taught, etc... and that number one is to always treat everyone you meet with respect. We talked about having to make decisions about ***, smoking, drinking, drugs, all that stuff and it was just very natural. It made me feel a lot better and reassured me that she does feel comfortable coming to me if anything were to come up.
     
  6. Rosieo

    Rosieo Enthusiast

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    Dec 19, 2005

    This happened with my son but at a later age. He really clammed up on me but I never stopped asking him thousands of questions, where are you going, who will be there, what time will you be home and then when he returned I kept asking again who was there, etc. I never, ever stopped asking questions and I am glad. He is now 17 and tells me tons of things....sometimes I think it is things that most kids wouldn't tell their parents. I feel that by asking and not giving up I kept those lines of communication open. Sure throughout the years when he was clammed up he was irritated that I keep asking him things but I think now he is grateful that I did. We have a really open relationship and I love it. Sure, I know there are things he doesn't tell me but I feel fortunate that there are tons of things he does tell me. Just keep those lines of communication open!
     
  7. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Dec 19, 2005

    Great, CanadianTeacher, just keep taking advantage of those opportune but relaxed moments.
     

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