How To Respond When Your Tween Tests Boundaries
… without resorting to shaking her!
Pre-teens, or “tweens” as my twelve-year-old prefers, seem to only exist to test us. Test our patience, test our commitment, test our sanity.
It’s been a slightly frustrating week in our house. Our kid has officially entered the boundary-testing phase of her development. This has resulted in several weird things I’ve had to deal with this week.
Removing three huge handfuls of Halloween candy from her lunch bag on Tuesday morning. Ya, I told her she could take A PIECE with her on Monday, my bad.
Angrily removing the violin recital eye makeup she was supposed to take off before she went to bed the night before. . . THREE minutes before the bus arrived. This was her poor attempt to be sneaky and wear makeup to school. “Honey, I was doing that to my mother years before you were born. Try again.”
Ripping the power cord for the TV out of the outlet because she rolled. her. eyes. and huffed & puffed when I told her to turn it down. “I wasn’t asking you to turn it down, I was telling. I also didn’t ask how you felt about turning it down. No more TV for you!” Smile sweetly and yank.
… and those examples were only through Wednesday.
So, how should you respond when your tween tests boundaries? Shore up those walls baby! These pre-teen years of ages nine to twelve will set the foundation for his or her teen years.
1. Let your pre-teen know that you mean what you say. If you set a rule or boundary, do not deviate. If you choose to make an exception, it cannot be precipitated by him or her whining, nagging or bugging you. Let your tween know that it is an exception.
2. You must make known that there will be clear and immediate consequences for disobeying. When there are no consequences or uneven application of consequences, what’s the incentive to follow your rules and expectations?
3. Do not engage your kid in argument. When a parent argues, they lose all authority to their child. Instead, give the reason behind the boundary and ignore any further whining or argument. Do. Not. Engage.
Stay consistent in the three previous points and you will be able to minimize the drama in your home. It’s not easy, I know, and we all screw up sometimes. Just realize that when your tween tests boundaries, it’s a totally normal part of his or her development.
Just remember to breathe, grab a glass of wine and
flip her off behind her back apologize to your parents for being a little shit when you were a pre-teen.