Here we go… 5 MORE tips.
- Be in Their Space.
Watch what they watch, listen to what they listen to, go visit them in their rooms, sit on their beds and chat with them. It will be like a window to their soul. We get to see what they like and don’t like. We get to see what they know. We will understand what they think is funny and what they are sensitive to. We will learn what conversations we need to have with them. Just recently I sat down to watch a show with our son. One of his shows. Although in the past, the show has been clean, on this episode they made a joke about drugs. Our son laughed a little. I had no idea he understood a reference like that and a few days later brought it up. He explained that there were some kids at school who sit next to him in English who talk about “that stuff.” Gaining this new knowledge by being in his space let me know that we needed to have some key conversations with him about what he was hearing. Plus, as our kids grow up we tend to leave them to do things alone, because they can. Being in their space shows we are interested and care.
- Don’t judge.
It can be easy to listen to their stories and watch their shows, or for us, it is when our son shares with us what he thinks is funny and I want to say, “that is so silly, or, do you really think that is funny”? We judge their comments and jokes and responses from our perspective and can get pretty judgmental about it all. We might even respond with “why would you have said that”? when they tell us about a conversation they had at school. Or, “why would you listen to THAT music”? They will stop wanting to share if we judge everything they do and say .
- Don’t overreact.
Your daughter comes in crying; after seeing a photo of a birthday party on Instagram or Facebook, that she wasn’t invited to. And then as parents, we overreact. “I can’t believe you weren’t invited! That’s horrible! I’m going to call the mother.” When we overreact we amplify the already dramatic situation. This just makes our kids more upset. We have to stay calm, help our children understand and stop amplifying the drama. Because their emotions and hormones are a bit out of whack, doesn’t mean we can let ours get that way too.
- Start conversations about sex and drugs.
Sexual development is a big part of this age, and it’s also when we first start to see eating disorders arise. These are key years for us to be building a strong foundation and giving them developmentally appropriate information. Our children are going to be exposed to these things through their peers whether we like it or not. We need to be sure that WE give them accurate information so that they get the right story and don’t feel overwhelmed.
- Don’t be “clueless”.
Don’t be a parent who just ignores “stuff”. Ignoring makes us seem oblivious to our kids. Appearing oblivious makes it seem that we don’t care. When we act clueless, our kids will stop telling us anything because they don’t think we care. Sometimes we act clueless because our kids are making choices we don’t agree with and we don’t want to be the parent with “that kid”, so we pretend we don’t see the situation at all. This is not a healthy way to parent. We don’t want to be the “last one to know.”
Instead of junior high being miserable, let’s help our kids thrive in these years.
Tell us how you make junior high great with your pre-teen.
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