Helping Your Tween Work Through The Challenges Of Adolescence 


As a developing adolescent, it’s normal for your child to try and exert more independence, asking questions for more freedom of movement and decision-making. 

If you’re curious about when you have a tween becoming a teenager, behaviors start to change. Physical developmental changes include body maturity, voice changes, and the development of acne and other adolescent characteristics. 

Developing A Sense Of Personal Independence

One of the primary defining characteristics of adolescence is the driving need to develop independence as a young person.

This tendency can last as long as 6+ years, and while challenging to endure as a parent, your child’s well-being must learn independence and confidence in their decision-making. 

The process of creating personal independence from parents helps your child develop a sense of identity and self-concept that is wholly their own. During this stage, your tween may exhibit a variety of dynamic ranges as well as adopt a more carefree attitude about themselves. 

As parents, it’s essential to understand that this stage is central to their overall well-being and helps shape how they will navigate all aspects of their lives, from social interactions, handling success, managing stress, and overcoming adversity. 

Energetic And Adventurous

Behavioral changes and changes to their sleep patterns are typical characteristics of a child in adolescence. Flooded with hormones, energy levels will peak and dip, and the lack of a fully developed frontal lobe makes impulse control challenging. 

Additionally, risky and adventurous behaviors often surface as your child tries to navigate their surroundings, including decision-making skills. As such, teens will often overlook the potential danger associated with their decisions, such as experimenting with alcohol, drugs, or sexual activity. 

Learning To Regulate Emotionally

Another step in teaching your tween how to develop into an adult is to learn how to regulate themselves emotionally and develop more vital impulse control skills. 

It’s common for tweens to exhibit emotional outbursts. Between their increased hormones and learning to develop complex coping mechanisms, emotional outbursts like screaming, slamming doors, and punching walls or pillows are not uncommon. 

The key is showing your tween how to navigate complex emotions and situations in calmer moments so they can practice when in the heat of the moment. 

When those outbursts turn to aggressive or violent behaviors toward others or even themselves, those emotional outbursts cross a line and need to be addressed by a professional. 

Cognitive Development

At this stage of your child’s development, cognition and abstract reasoning become more capable and mature. As a result, your child can begin picturing and imagining their future and be able to figure out the steps to achieve those goals. 

Cognitive development may often come across as disrespectful as your adolescent develops analytic skills that satisfy their desire to understand their world and a sense of personal independence. 

It’s hard to keep in perspective, but parents must recognize that these behaviors are part of their overall development and the stage they are in. 

Helping Your Tween Navigate These Changes

As the parent, it’s crucial to keep your wits about you, even as they’re challenged at every step. 

Much of what your tween is going through is a byproduct of their bodily, mental, and hormonal changes that are confusing and beyond their control. 

A key to helping your kids navigate adolescence’s challenges is to show them that you still care for them and value them as they are, not who they were as a child. 

Establishing one-on-one time with your pre-teen is vital to show them you still care about them and build and strengthen your relationship. 

Setting aside this quality time once or twice a week can help you provide undivided attention and teach interpersonal skills that will be essential in their future. 

Make this time focused on the relationship, so eliminate distractions like work or gadgets like tablets and phones. 

Your tween may not always express interest in spending time with you, but it’s essential to make an effort anyway. 

Showing the action without smothering your tween will help them realize that their experiences are shared, helping to alleviate the sense of alienation that accompanies the changes that occur during adolescence. 

Take advantage of your opportunity to get to know your tween better and create lasting memories. Whether it’s going for walks, playing board games, or just talking about their day, the key is to set aside some special time each week with your child.

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