Yesterday, my sister who lives in S'pore and I chatted online about my tween niece who is going through her puberty and rebellious stage. What is a tween? A tween is youngsters between the ages of 9 and 14. They are not children anymore, but they aren’t quite full-blown teenagers yet, though they definitely think they are.
My niece, L, was a sweet little darling until she entered her teens. Recently she is really testing my sis patience and draining her energy. She's going to do what she's doing no matter what is said or no matter how many times you ground her she will still do it. L often listens more to her friends than her mom. The normal teen stuff yes ... but after a long day at work it surely is depressing to deal with mood swings, laziness, too much computer or TV time and fights over homework, and lots of other stuff. She has no regard for anyone else business or what's going on in your lives...except her friends of course. Her new antic when she does not get what she wants is L tend to be argumentative to her mom and talks to her like she is one of her friends not her mother, which really bothered me. I hope this is only a transition phase of growing up. My sis asked me to give L a bit auntie-niece speech but am afraid talking on the phone is less effective and L may forget them as soon as she puts the phone down.
Now she has a group of friends (schoolmates) who share the same passion of the computer game and she will be unhappy if my sis does not allow her to see them. For example, she sacrificed her weekly piano class because hanging around with her friends are more fun. Asking what she did wrong isn't going to bring an answer because she feels she didn't do anything wrong. My sis just worried she is hanging with the wrong crowd. She has seen a lot of parents let their children roam around and do not know where they are or who they are with a lot of the time. But L thinks she deserves some freedom and more control over her life. Kids today seem to be much more grown up at an earlier age, aren't they?
L is now in the age between middle childhood and adolescence (she is 12 y/o). She thinks she knows it all. She is becoming a person in her own right, with her own likes and dislikes, habits, interests and tastes. As a single working mom, my sis is worried if she is being too hard then L may run away. But I told her the house rules must stand. She just have to be tough and set the boundaries. Children need boundaries. And my sis needs to provide very defined boundaries and be strong enough to enforce them consistently. Deep in my heart I know it's easier said than done.
How do you talk to your tweens and still keep your cool??? What kind of defiance you will accept??? If anyone has gone through this and has any advice please share your experience.