Simple Ways to Grow Your Tweens’ Strengths
You and I know school requires more than learning the subject matter. At its heart lies a framework for gaining skills that range from perseverance and resilience to bravery. Ironically the tools and strategies that support success are neither measured nor mentioned. Yet, without them honor roll, most improved, and perfect attendance awards could not be earned. You can help your child develop these necessary skills.
Punctuality The clock rules us. Most of us have felt that lump in our throat or a twinge of guilt when we are late. Schools build structure out of necessity, and students learn to be on time for school, class, and most importantly, lunch. School buses have timetables just as homework is time stamped. Asking them how they will meet these non-negotiable expectations encourages them to plan for promptness. We model this for them at home.
Self-advocating The student who arrives early to class and asks the teacher to borrow his charger because she forgot to charge her iPad knows how to ask for what she needs. And the one who mixes up adjectives and adverbs and asks the teacher to explain it just one more time, knows how to ask for clarification. Remind them that asking for what they need creates an opportunity for a “yes” that might not happen without making a request. Self-advocating is a super-power.
Coaching Imagine your boss proposes you tweak something; how do you respond? Students who let caring adults inspire them, apply suggestions like liquid gold, and take no affront to corrections know how to be coached and mentored. This perspective maximizes their position. Remind them that these prompts are not about personal shortcomings but promote ah-ha moments that empower their best. The willingness to re-learn and adapt is a life-long skill.
Collaborating No doubt, we’ve all been in a group where we carried the weight to get the A, or perhaps been the one who dragged the group down. Project work is tricky for those very reasons. Help them understand that sharing project ownership works well when each person gets to advocate to use their talents for specific tasks. Contributing to shared goals makes them feel valued.
Socializing It’s not hard to imagine how important having people is to tweens! They know when they feel comfort or discomfort with another human, just like we do. It’s emotional and in the gut. You can help your child learn to make friends by talking about how friendships develop:
- Laughing or caring about the same things
- Trusting and understanding each other
- Listening and using door openers*
They must know how to find their people.
Organizing We develop systems to stay on top of things: making lists, setting calendar reminders, dealing with each email once, etc. Knowing and doing what works for us gets it done! Help your kids form their organizational plan for
- Completing and submitting homework
- Using their best study practices
- Taking ownership of chores
Empowering them to make these decision honors their desire for autonomy.
Their success and accountability grow as they hone these skills. Make it easy for them and you by creating an environment of curiosity about each one rather than insisting upon a serious conversation that might sound like a lecture to them. You’ve got this!
*Door openers: Questions and comments to keep conversations going
What was that like?
How did that feel?
What were you thinking?
What happened next?
Who helped you?
What did you like the most?
When did this happen?
Will you show me how?
That sounds awesome.
I’d do the same thing.
I was thinking that, too.
©2022 JoAnn Schauf, MS, LLC Your Tween & You | All rights reserved.