Staying connected as kids approach the teen years and become more independent may become a challenge for parents, but it's as important as ever — if not more so now.
While activities at school, new interests, and a growing social life become more important to growing kids, parents are still the anchors, providing love, guidance, and support.
And that connection provides a sense of security and helps build the resilience kids needs to roll with life's ups and downs.
Your preteen may act as if your guidance isn't welcome or needed, and even seem embarrassed by you at times. This is when kids start to confide more in peers and request their space and privacy — expect the bedroom door to be shut more often.
As difficult as it may be to swallow these changes, try not to take them personally. They're all signs of growing independence. You're going to have to loosen the ties and allow some growing room.
But you don't have to let go entirely. You're still a powerful influence — it's just that your preteen might be more responsive to the example you set rather than the instructions you give. So practice what you'd like to preach; just preach it a little less for now.
Modeling the qualities that you want your preteen to learn and practice — respectful communication, kindness, healthy eating, and fulfilling everyday responsibilities without complaining — makes it more likely that your son or daughter will comply.
Small, simple things can reinforce connection. Make room in your schedule for special times, take advantage of the routines you already share, and show that you care.
Here are some tips:
Reviewed by: D'Arcy Lyness, PhD
Date reviewed: January 2013
|Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) YMCAs also offer camps, computer classes, and community service opportunities in addition to fitness classes.|
|American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) The AAP is committed to the health and well-being of infants, adolescents, and young adults. The website offers news articles and tips on health for families.|
|American Psychological Association (APA) The APA provides information and education about a variety of mental health issues for people of all ages.|
|GirlsHealth.gov GirlsHealth.gov, developed by the U.S. Office on Women's Health, offers girls between the ages of 10 and 16 information about growing up, food and fitness, and relationships.|
|Is Your Child Too Busy? Some kids have too much to do and not enough time to do it. Is your child too busy?|
|A Parent's Guide to Surviving the Teen Years You've lived through 2 AM feedings, toddler temper tantrums, and the back-to-school blues. So why is the word "teenager" causing you so much anxiety?|
|Medical Care and Your 6- to 12-Year-Old Regular well-child exams are essential to keep kids healthy and up-to-date with immunizations. Find out what to expect at the doctor's office.|
|Nine Steps to More Effective Parenting Parenting is incredibly challenging and rewarding. Here are nine child-rearing tips that can help.|
|Family Meals Shared family meals are more likely to be nutritious, and getting everyone together is a chance to reconnect. Here are some simple suggestions for making mealtime into quality family time.|
|Fitness and Your 6- to 12-Year-Old Kids who are 6 to 12 years old need physical activity to build strength, coordination, confidence, and to lay the groundwork for a healthy lifestyle.|
|Talking to Your Parents Sometimes you really need to talk with mom or dad. But it's not always easy. Get tips for how to have a good talk.|
|What Kids Say About: Parents What do kids think about their parents? See what they had to say in this article for kids.|
|Growth and Your 6- to 12-Year-Old As kids grow from grade-schoolers to preteens, there continues to be a wide range of "normal" as far as height, weight, and shape.|
|Getting Along With Parents How can you get along better with your parents and have more fun together? Follow these five steps.|
|Precocious Puberty Precocious puberty - the onset of signs of puberty before age 7 or 8 in girls and age 9 for boys - can be physically and emotionally difficult for children and can sometimes be the sign of an underlying health problem.|
|Talking to Your Parents - or Other Adults Whether it's an everyday issue like schoolwork or an emergency situation, these tips can help you improve communications with your parents and other adults.|
|Talking to Your Child About Puberty Talking to kids about puberty is an important job for parents, especially because kids often hear about sex and relationships from unreliable sources. Here are some tips.|
|Understanding Puberty Puberty was awkward enough when you were the one going through it. So how can you help your kids through all the changes?|
What to expect when coming to Akron Children's
For healthcare providers and nurses
Residency & Fellowships, Medical Students, Nursing and Allied Health
For prospective employees and career-seekers
Our online community that provides inspirational stories and helpful information.