Saturday, January 30, 2010

Tween Behavior - Say Goodbye To Your Back Talk Tween

Talking back in a rude tone, the sucking of teeth under their breath, the snide remarks when asked to do something, the snappy attitude when they have to do something they don't want to do, rolling their eyes the minute you start to talk is all bad tween behavior, with the most common being back talk. Tween back talk accompanied by a rude tone and body language has to be the single most annoying, exhausting thing parents of tweens have to put up with. It comes along everyday with just about every situation - unless they are getting something they want - but if not, God help you!

With the onset of adolescence tweens are trying to figure out who they are as individuals, separate from their parents. There are also outside influences such as cell phones and text messaging. emails and chat rooms that allow tweens to nurture their relationships with their friends and develop closer bonds.  This results in pushing their parents away at an earlier age.

In tween behavior Boys and girls act differently.  Boys are more withdrawn and defiant where as girls are more dramatic and tend to over react to the smallest of situations.

Tween back talk is to some degree normal, however, that does not mean that it can't get worse or out of control.  Just like with so many other areas of childhood and growing up, this is an area that needs to be addressed each time it rears it's ugly head. Here is some advice on how to handle those tween behavior attitudes so that you and your tween can live together in peace and harmony.
  • Parental Status, not friendship.
    Throughout the stage of tweenhood it is important that you maintain your parental status and do away with the "I want to be my tweens friend" status. Your tween will learn to behave appropriately by the way you deal with him in whatever various situations arise.
  • As your tweens independence grows and he struggles to find his individualism you need to be sure you introduce very clear rules. Take into consideration the areas of importance such as right from wrong, honesty, kindness and marks in school.  Ignore the more trivial things such as his or her hair style or preferred style of clothing.
  • Make sure your tween knows where you draw the line when it comes to his back talk and tween behavior.  You might decide to ignore the sucking of his teeth and mumbles under his breath but will you be so kind as to ignore him walking away from you and slamming his bedroom door or shouting back at you? Your tween needs to know exactly what behavior you will not tolerate by any means.
  •  Nip tween behavior in the bud as soon as it starts.  Don't wait till your tween is already shouting and screaming at you for weeks on end before you take the bull by the horns.  Instead make the rules clear from the very first sign of tween back talk. Let your tween know that you understand this stage of growing up and you know what he or she is going through and that you are here for him, but that even a good friend won't hang around if he behaves badly toward them.
  •  Decide on an age appropriate punishment for violations.  When it comes to dealing with tween behavior and punishments, parents have to be consistent and let their tween know that unacceptable behavior will have a negative effect on his or life, one that will definitely impose on their tween social life or hobbies. Punishing your tween by not taking them shopping is not such a big deal but punishing your tween with not going out on the weekend or taking away their cell phone or computer privileges will have more of an effect and make them think twice. Make sure you keep your upper hand.  It is highly important that you choose punishments wisely and follow through with them, otherwise your tween will not take you seriously.
  • When faced with poor tween behavior remain calm but stern, try not to shout, you don't want to be behaving in the way you are trying to teach your tween not to.  
    • Remember that respect is a two way street, although it can be a difficult thought to keep in mind when the heated arguments start because your tweens behavior is out the door.  You will need to always, no matter how many times you said it-you have to keep telling them that the name calling and abuse is hurtful and remain respectful to them no matter how hot the flames are.  Help teach them by example.
    • When things do get heated gain control of the situation by taking a breather,  a step back, put the drama on pause and take a breather.  Doing this will also encourage your tween to do the same when faced with heated arguments in his life and also show maturity and sensibility. This will also enable both parties to calm down and collect their thoughts, possibly giving your tween the chance to turn it around and address the situation in a more appropriate manner.  If you have been working on these points you might find it is here that you get an apology for bad tween behavior from your very own tween.
    •  Spend some one on one time with your tween.  Don't make it a big deal but more of a casual approach.  If your taking a trip to the store ask your tween to join you and let them have the lead in conversation.  It doesn't matter what the conversation is about, when your tween gets comfortable with this he will begin to open up and the conversation could change course to things you might want to know. 
    • Make yourself available to your tween when he needs to talk. It is hard at times to stop in the middle of a task or important situation but it is necessary so that your tween can see and feel that you care about his needs and thoughts and that he is just as important as everything else in your life.  It also gives you a chance to know what is going on his life no matter how trivial it may seem to you as an adult it is important to your tween and he needs your help.  If you really can't break away at the time he approaches you then set an appointment for a short time later and keep the appointment time. Experts say that a tween is more likely to approach his parents if he feels they will listen and not lose their cool or judge unimportant facts.
    • Put a "Family Night" into action, on the same night every week. Spend time together without any outside disturbances.  This means no cell phones, no video games, no outside influences or disturbances at all, the same goes for mom and dad.  Set some activities into place such as cooking, setting the table and other preparations for dinner.  Play games or just sit and chat.
    Remember that although bad tween behavior does come along with the territory of having a tween, it can get out of control and become unbearable to live around, turning your darling sweet child into a monster from hell - so take these steps into account in order to get tween back talk and bad tween behavior under control. By putting these actions into motion  you will also be preparing yourself and your tween to have a better relationship when tween becomes teen. 


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