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by Lori Sciame | October 29th, 2012 | Tweens

Some parents may dread the time when their child becomes a tween, the time when he or she no longer acts like a little child, yet hasn’t matured enough to be classified as a young adult. In reality, this time of a child’s life offers a parent much joy. Instead of thinking the tween years will be a hassle, think of them as a blessing or as tween-tastic!

New Opportunities

At the ages of 10, 11, and 12, a child learns about many new and exciting opportunities. For instance, it’s usually at this time that he or she chooses to play an instrument or to sing in choir. Embrace this adventure into the world of music. I can say from personal experience that a few notes coaxed from a clarinet or the singing of a high C note — all in front of an audience — can literally melt a parent’s heart.

Other exciting opportunities for tweens include new sporting activities, as well as intellectual interests. As with music, parents need to support a child’s efforts in different areas. It really helps to build a child’s self-esteem if mom and/or dad continue to show interest in all aspects of a tween’s life.

Awakening Sexuality

The tween years also herald the beginning of an interest in one’s own body (and the bodies of others). Although it may seem scary to begin discussing body image and the role of sexuality in a person’s life, if done with honesty and true caring, it offers a chance to bond with a child. It fact, it is during the tween years that a parent needs to establish open lines of communication with a son or daughter concerning sex.

Fun Companions

A final reason I love the tween years is that children that age are really fun to hang out with. This is because they can be reasoned with, they like learning new things, they still think their parents are cool, and they aren’t moody like teenagers. Hugs, laughter, joking, and the like mark interactions between parents and children of this age.

The tween time of childhood may actually be the easiest to handle for many parents. I remember the sheer exhaustion I felt when my children were very young, as well as the immense worry when they turned into teenagers; however, I also remember many joyful moments when they were tweens. For me, the tween years can be compared to the eye of a hurricane. This time is when a parent should cherish the relative calm weather before the storm starts again — once a child turns thirteen.

The tween years need not be feared by parents. Overall, they present opportunities for meaningful parent/child relationships. Enjoy your tween-tastic child now, as in a few years, he will refuse to clean his room, and she will refuse to be seen with you in public.

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