Healthy parent-child relationships include respect, trust, understanding and care. As a child becomes a tween, making parenting-skill adjustments can be challenging. Although your daughter isn’t an adult, she’s not a little kid anymore either.
The flood of emotions and changes – like the pressure to feel and act "grown up" while gaining independence – stretches your patience; communication, however, is still the key to staying connected. It's refreshing to know that your acceptance of the changes your daughter is experiencing and appropriate parenting adjustments create a foundation for a healthy relationship that prepares her for her teen years.
Follow these tips to stay connected with your tween daughter:
Talk about sensitive things. Your curious tween daughter is a sponge for information about relationships, love and sex. Not having knowledge only piques her curiosity more, which can lead to undesirable behavior. Talking about it will help her avoid risky behavior.
Take advantage of opportunities for conversations that are awkward. The drive to the store and dance lessons are great opportunities to chat about sensitive things like sex and relationships. The time together is brief and eye contact is minimal, so they tend to be less stressful moments.
Understand it's normal for your tween daughter to desire more independence. Relinquishing parental power to control all of the decisions she makes is difficult but necessary. Allowing her to make some decisions is part of growing up. Otherwise, you're creating an atmosphere for rebellion and other unwanted behavior.
Trevicia Williams, Ph.D., is a psychologist, speaker, author and talk-show host in Dallas. Learn more about her at treviciawilliams.com.
Published October 2013