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The Power of Tweens

by Ronald A. Rowe | December 6th, 2012 | Tweens

Do not underestimate the power of tweens. The term tween was coined by Madison Avenue marketing types because it sounds a lot cooler than “pre-adolescents”. It wasn’t because the advertising gurus of the world were concerned about the physical and psychological development of your child. It was because they recognized the enormous buying power and influence of the 10-12 year old set, in particular the girls. (They dubbed tween girls to be “too old for toys, too young for boys.”)

If you doubt the power and influence of the tween set, consider that it was primarily girls in the 10-14 range who made Titanic a billion dollar movie. Clothes, accessories, TV shows, and movies are designed specifically to appeal to the mercurial sensibilities of tweens.

Now here’s the thing. Tweens typically don’t have much money. They didn’t make James Cameron a billion dollars all on their own. If all the eleven-year-old girls in your town are wearing some ridiculous thing this year, it is because the moms and dads of those girls bought it for them. They don’t have money, but they know how to influence (read: manipulate) their parents into opening the pocketbooks.

I think the problem is that this is such a difficult age range that many moms and dads just don’t know how to relate. Bringing home ice cream or a stuffed animal is no longer the magic salve that it used to be. Now it is all about boy bands and inscrutable fashion trends and dreamy, emotive, pale vampires. What’s a good parent to do but fork over a few bucks for that thing — that one thing — that will allow your child to avoid becoming a social pariah?

I know you don’t understand your tween. Truth is, despite the years of study and work with this age group, I don’t always understand my own. But I do know that throwing money at the problem is rarely the best solution. It can be hard. It will be frustrating. But take the time to talk to your tweens and try your very best to understand them.

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