It’s Not Your Fault
When tweens shift their attention from their parents to their peers, parents frequently feel disconnected, ignored, and rejected. Tweens confide in their friends the thoughts, stories, and ideas they once shared with their parents. They seclude themselves in their rooms rather than hanging out in the shared areas of their homes. They chat and text with their peers loquaciously yet respond to parents with one-word answers, shrugs, and nods.
Parents often wonder what they have done wrong. The answer is nothing. It is nature pushing tweens to adulthood. While their message is STAY AWAY, the reality is that parents are needed more than ever.
A primary task adolescences face is differentiating from their parents. They strive for independence, autonomy, and their own identity. They consider interests, beliefs, and ideas that differ from childhood and their parents. They struggle to fit in and stand out as they define their new self-concept. The process requires privacy and time.
What can parents do to help? Lean-in and accept the metamorphosis. Build on relationships by listening and expressing curiosity about their interests and ideas: provide the resources they need to learn and evolve; encourage healthy habits and invite them to do things together that they like – such as re-rearranging their room, watching their favorite shows, cooking, or volunteering. Also, visit them in their room without an agenda.
That closed door is not a barrier – it is a sign of work in progress!
©JoAnn Schauf, MS, LLC Your Tween & You 2021 All rights reserved