Okay moms and dads out there... I have to ask... Do you have a sassy tween girl, and are you dealing with her constantly obnoxious attitude and back-talk?
Over the last few months, I have seen a shift in my daughter's level of defiance. Although underneath she is still the same fabulous, outgoing and conscientious young lady as always, lately our day-to-day conversations seem plagued with rolling of the eyes, arguments over the most mundane issues and just plain attitude.
I have to say that in our case, this attitude shift started when she returned from summer camp. Now, don't get me wrong. I am not blaming her summer camp for her change in behaviour. The camp experience is one that I wholeheartedly support and I feel is important on so many levels. Too many levels to name for the sake of this blog.
However, with two months of freedom under her belt, and with no one to tell her how to dress or what and when to eat, there were consequences. Consequences that we needed to evaluate and renegotiate once she returned home.
So, how can we get this extreme sense of entitlement and sassy attitude under wraps?
Tips for Parents Dealing With Tweens:
1) Try not to take your tween's behaviour personally. Although it might feel like their foul mouths are directed straight toward you, rest assured that they behave this way amongst themselves. If I had not seen it first hand, I would never have believed it, either.
2) Sit, listen and don't judge everything that comes out of your tween's mouth. This is not easy to do, especially when it seems that just about everything that our children say or do is the complete opposite of the way we feel we raised them to behave.
3) Remember that it is completely natural for tweens to argue with us. They are assessing their sense of independence. They are learning the skills to become independent, well-adjusted adults. Even if right now we feel like throttling them.
4) Model the type of behaviour that you wish to instill in your children. By being patient and empathetic, and by trying to get to the root of our tween's feelings, you are actually teaching your children to be respectful. Patience and calmness are in. Yelling and threatening are out.
5) Find some humour in their attitude. Although extremely difficult at times to do, being able to laugh at your situation will actually prevent you from completely losing your mind.
6) Encourage your children to "take 10." If your tween is being rude and out of control, encourage her to take a break. Walk away and think about her behaviour. Parents also need to walk away when they feel they are going to do or say something that they might regret. By walking away and ignoring the back talk, our tweens learn that their smart mouths are not going to score any points with Mom or Dad.
Despite all of these great suggestions, the truth is this is all new to me as a mother, and I am still working on finding out what works best for us in our home.
I'll let you know how it goes. In the meantime, keep calm and drink wine.
About the Author: Sari Shaicovitch is a professional Social Worker and therapist whose calling is to spend her days helping clients with all sorts of issues. Sari's personal experiences and adventures in motherhood have helped her to find her professional voice. You can find Sari at sarishaicovitch.com or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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