March 11, 2008

Growing up is really hard to do

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.


Fun said...

yup...mank susah kalo anak dah menuju proses pencarian jati diri.. dengan teman2nya dia menemukan teman seperjuangan yang bisa ngerti maunya dia apa...makanya dia lebih ngerasa nyaman bersama mereka ketimbang keluarga sendiri.

saran aku, bicaralah ke dia layaknya sebagai teman.. kasi dia kebebasan..buat dia ngerasa bahwa dia bisa dipercaya.. kasi dia kepercayaan diri. terlalu kuatir akan membuat dia semakin tidak nyaman berada di dalam rumah. jangan ngerasa benar aja..karena mereka mau dihargai dan didengarkan pendapatnya.. :)

bagaimanapun, ini saran yang biasa banget.. kenyataannya emang lebih susah dipraktikan.. semoga dia bisa berubah yak :)
maap neh kalo salah yak :)

Elyani said...

@Fun : makasih saran-nya, justru aku perlu dengar input dari yg muda2 kaya Fun. Kalau ngikutin tantenya sih udah kepengen nyubit aja. Jaman di asrama dulu dikit2 kena straap...tapi sayangnya gak bisa diterapkan ke anak sekarang. Musti makan pil sabar untuk komunikasi dengan ABG kaya ponakanku :)

Belle said...

tough! tough! 12 years old is a little too young to be rebellious. she still is a minor and she can't do whatever she wants or pleases or she gets disciplined. i was lucky my eldest one didn't give me trouble at all except talking back to us and banging the door hard. the little one, however, was the one who challenged us but it wasn't something we were not able to handle.

i know it is easier than done.

you are right, your sister has to set boundaries and mean it. when she says she is going to ground her, ground her. take her cell phone away for a month, for example. don't give her allowance, don't buy her clothes. love is tough. let her know that you are the boss of the household. she has to play by your rules or she pays the consequences. stand behind what you say.

i grounded my little one several times. i took her cell phone away even if she wanted it so bad...for a month! she didn't talk to me for the longest time. i let it be...she hated us for it soo much. i said, if you think you can live on your own, the door is open. i honestly thought she was going to run away but she probably figured she didn't have a place to go to except in the street.

when she was nice, i, rewarded her for that, too. when i packed her lunch, i inserted a note that said, i love u, and she loved it.

the other thing i did was pray which i still do up until now and will continue indefinitely.

Anna Rochanti Madden said...

When I was growing up, my parents were very strict. I wanted they gave me more freedom. Now I realize, it's not easy being parents. Because freedom was not the case, but our (me and my two other sisters) safety that my parents worried about.

My opinion is: your sister should talk to her daughter nicely and ask her what she wants. Make a deal with her. But if she breaks the rule, I agree with Belle's opinion or send her to a boarding school.

I wish your sister luck!