Strategies To Help Parents Through the Preteen Years
Posted: September 17, 2012
There are many challenges when parenting a pre-early teen including dealing with their physical changes, mood swings, and their desire for independence. There’s no one-size-fits-all remedy that will help parents through this challenging period, but there are a number of things that parents can do. Here are a few suggestions from Iowa State University to help parents develop positive relations with their youth and deal with problems when they arise.
* Notice good behavior. Make praise specific and frequent. Young people learn better from positive actions (encouragement and extra privileges) than from negative ones (punishment or losing privileges).
* Give a reward. Use special privileges and one-on-one time to reward good behavior.
* Plan time for family fun. Time spent doing fun things together helps build a reserve of good feelings that can help you get through hard times. Let your child help plan family events and outings.
* Practice reflective listening. When you are working together with your youth to solve a problem, stop to summarize what he or she has said so your youth knows you have really heard. Resist the temptation to criticize or lecture.
* Use driving time to talk. Most parents of pre- and early teens spend time driving the child to lessons, ball games or shopping. Children may be more willing to open up in this environment than when they are at home.
* Hold family meetings. Set a specific time each week with family members to set schedules, plan fun things to do together as a family, and deal with concerns. Start with compliments and end with a snack or game.
* Wait until you are calm to deal with a problem. Do not discipline your child when you are angry. Discussing a problem when either of you is upset only leads to fighting and additional negative feelings.
To learn more about developing positive relationships with your pre-early teen, register for the Strengthening Families Program: for Parents and Youth 10-14. Strengthening Families is a seven week program designed to reduce adolescent substance abuse and other problematic behaviors in youth ages 10 – 14 years. Five sessions will be held this fall in Scranton, Moscow and Carbondale. The Carbondale sessions will be held from 5:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. on Sundays starting on September 30 and on Thursdays beginning on October 4 at the Carbondale Area Elementary School.
The Scranton session will run on Thursdays starting October 4 from 5:30 p.m. -8:00 p.m. The Moscow sessions will be held on Tuesdays starting September 25 and on Wednesdays starting September 26 from 5:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. at the North Pocono Intermediate School. Youth and their caregivers should plan to attend one night each week for seven weeks. All sessions are free and include a free meal for the entire family, free child care for younger children and prizes for attendance. Youth and their parents/caregivers should plan to attend one night each week for seven weeks. For more information or to register for this fun, family oriented program, call Penn State Cooperative Extension at 963-6842 by September 20. Space is limited so registration will be taken on a first come, first serve basis.
Karen Thomas is a family and consumer sciences educator for Penn State Extension in Lackawanna County.