What can you do with a tween who thinks they’re in charge? Controlling tweens may attempt to boss siblings or even parents around. True, it may be constructive for tweens to regularly help out around the house. Still, in my experience as a parent (and grandparent), there’s a fine line between assistance and a hostile takeover. Tweens don’t have the emotional maturity or skills required to undertake all parental responsibilities and decisions. Nor should they. This is the time of life when they should be enjoying their childhood. Try these five tips for controlling tweens who are controlling tweens.
1. Be specific when assigning tasks to controlling tweens. Explain exactly what you expect them to be responsible for (and for how long). This leaves the impression that you are the authority figure. You just need their temporary assistance. It also sends the message that it’s OK to ask for help when needed. Never expect tweens to take over your role. It’s not fair to them, or you. Give opportunities for them to practice authority, not overthrow yours.
2. Keep tweens busy to curb control issues. Bored children take it out on those around them. If your tween is restless and bored, they may take it out on their siblings. Bossing little brother or sister around makes them feel important. It fills the gap of having no goals to work toward and nothing to look forward to. Encourage your tween to develop goals, hobbies and skills. They’ll be better for it. Let them exercise control over their own life, not yours.
3. Raise self esteem to curb controlling tweens. Sometimes tweens will develop control issues when they are feeling insecure. Keep home life as stable as possible. Give praise when it’s earned. Give more praise than punishment. When you do punish, try to blame the behavior, not the person. Children with good self esteem rarely try to play the control card. They don’t have to. They’re already secure.
4. Give tweens their own responsibilities, so they don’t take over yours. It’s natural for developing minds to exercise control over their immediate environment. Doing so promotes that all important sense of security. Some say this dates back to the caveman era of kill or be killed. Whatever the reason, giving tweens their own responsibilities makes them less likely to interfere with yours.
5. Pass the test for controlling tweens. Kids will push and test you. It’s their job. Once kids reach the tween years they begin working toward independence. They are practicing life skills and testing their limits. Give them some to test. Let them know every time they step over the line. Letting it go even once tells them they have a chance to get away with it next time. Want to curb controlling tweens? Make expectations clear, raise self esteem, keep them busy and encourage goals.
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