Parenting Tweens (And Homeschooling Them) Without Losing Your Mind
Pre-teens, or tweens, are at an age when hormones start to kick in and emotions commence running rampant. This is the beginning stages of puberty, folks, and BOY! is it a wild ride.
Some days you’ll even think you’re losing your mind, but I’m learning some truths about for navigating this transitional and emotional stage in life.
Tweens are looking to be more independent and begin to question everything!
Especially their parents. Ask me how I know.
The thing is, I’m okay with the questions to an extent. Questions are how we learn, right?
I’m even down with a bit of negotiating. After all, negotiations allow my kiddo to feel like he has some say and control over what’s going on in his life.
“Why yes, you may forgo all other subjects in lieu of only reading today, but only if you double up on all said subjects tomorrow. Do we have a deal?”
Homeschooling has its advantages.
Sleep, Because They Are Growing
Wardrobe mix-ups and other fashion faux pas happen all the time around here.
Life’s too short for matching socks, but there was that unfortunate incident where my skinny jeans ended up being put away in his closet by mistake.
My son came out wearing them with a concerned look on his face. “Mom! Somethings not quite right with my pants…”
Let’s just say that lady’s jeans really do look odd on an eleven-year-old boy.
The point is, our kiddos are growing a ton! So much so that my son can fit into my clothes. YIKES! These kids seem to be in a constant state of high water pants and siestas. Seriously, I think this man-child is sleeping more now than he ever has. Ever!
Most days he doesn’t rise until 9 or 10 am. It’s not unheard of for him to be found dozing around 2 pm.
So, do you know what I do? I let him sleep!
When he gets his sleep, we have a 50% better chance of a less tumultuous day!
Notice I said 50%, not 100% and I mentioned LESS tumultuous, not NONE.
Conversations, Listening, and Not Taking Things Personally
It’s HARD not to take things personally, momma. I know. I’m right there with you. Many a day I have found myself with head in hands crying behind the locked bathroom door.
Parenting tweens is not for the faint of heart.
Who is this Dr. Jekell and Mr. Hyde that’s suddenly inhabiting our home? One moment he is that sweet and thoughtful little boy I remember from days gone by. Other times, and without seemingly any provocation, doors are slamming and angry outbursts ensue.
Emotional rollercoaster, party of two.
Do you ever get the feeling that they are arguing just to argue?
Other times they come to you with intensely deep concerns about friendships, feelings, or endless talk about their favorite video game.
We have had some amazingly meaningful conversations after the outburst is over and both parties have had a chance to collect themselves. It’s important to go back and talk about behaviors and reactions – how to navigate them, what’s appropriate, what’s normal, and how our choices affect others.
Listen, listen, listen! Truly hear them. We want our kids to feel that they can come and talk to us about anything. No matter how uncomfortable it makes you, remember they WILL find someone to talk to. Wouldn’t you rather that someone be you?
Listen with your ears and breathe through your mouth at least until you have multiple conversations on showering and deodorant.
Folks, puberty hormones are tough on our kiddos and their mommas.
The Body Book For Boys and The Boy’s Body Book: Everything You Need to Know for Growing Up YOU! have been wonderful resources for our son.
For young girls, you may want to check out The Care and Keeping of You: The Body Book for Younger Girls or The Feelings Book: The Care and Keeping of Your Emotions.
Moody Eye Rolls, Attitudes, and Melting Your Heart
Just because your tween gives you the deep breaths of frustration, their moods change with the tides, and their attitudes are in a constant state of flux doesn’t mean you aren’t doing a pretty fantastic job at this parenting gig. This stage won’t last.
When you see your mini man-child shaking the hands of senior residents and engaging them in conversation about their lives at the retirement home, your heart will melt.
When he offers to play his guitar for them just to make them smile your heart may do a backflip.
Watching him read aloud a Princess storybook to a little sister with a tummy ache to make her feel better will make your heart do a summersault.
You’ll get this inkling that maybe, just maybe, amidst all of the chaos of puberty and homeschooling, you might be doing something right.
Look at the Big Picture
Parenting tweens is setting the stage for parenting teens. Yet, pre-teens still haven’t left the entirety of childhood behind. Thank goodness.
The end goal is for these future members of society to be mature, independent learners and thinkers who can make wise decisions while showing love and kindness to others.
We can try to guide our kids by being there for them, having conversations about what they’re going through, helping to develop their empathy while providing resources to answer any questions they may have.
Also, be kind to you. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.
None of us are perfect, and neither are our kids. This stage of life is a learning experience for everyone.
Are your kids starting to go through puberty? How are you handling it?
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Erin Vincent is a homeschooling mom to two intense kids. They are child led with a heavy emphasis on read alouds, games, art, nature hikes, and hands on science! They traded the hustle and bustle of city life for the quiet farm life where opportunities for exploration in nature abound. When they're not homeschooling you'll find Erin curled up with a cup of coffee and a good book!. You can find Erin at Nourishing My Scholar.
“Parenting Tweens is not for the faint of heart”. Truer words have never been spoken! I’ve got a 12.5 yr old and almost 10 yr old and some days…just, some days. Sigh. This post was fantastic and right on point. Loved it!
I’m so right at this stage right now. Thanks for the encouragement!
emotional roller coaster, party of 2 INDEED…
i soooooo am not looking forward to 16, if I survive my daughters 11th year….girls=trauma drama over everything, including those homeschool negotians…..
LOTS and LOTS of coffee and walking away to keep tempers down….thats my survival motto!