On Becoming Preteen Wise: April’s Notes, Chapter 1
I had an unusually hard day at Pacific Christian Academy today with my handsome and intelligent tween, so I’m finally getting around to writing this post.
I came across this book this summer. Alan’s parents were moving, and Nonna let me go through the books she was going to give away. She has the best books! When I came across this one I stopped in my tracks.
“parenting your child from eight to twelve years,” the book reads, under the title….
Hold the phone.
Eight is a pre-teen!!!???
Well, that explains a lot.
I’m mostly underlining the high points for my husband. He has so much to read for school as it is. We’ll just call this “April’s notes.” You know, like Cliff’s notes. Do they still sell those? They were big when I was in high school.
Tonight we’ll really just be looking at Chapter One. There are so many helpful concepts in this book that each chapter warrants its own post. Not even exaggerating.
This chapter talks a lot about transitioning into the “middle years phase.” (My dad used to call it the “middle school duh”. Oh, how I hated that when I was a middle schooler, but I TOTALLY get it now.)
No, eight is not middle school, but according to Preteen Wise, the hormones, they are already a changin’!
My favorite line of this chapter is this, from page 20, “So this chapter starts with you, Mom and Dad. Your moral growth is hardly an option.”
SO TRUE! Because these kids tend to test the boundaries, questioning right and wrong, and daring to ask WHY, our patience is PUSHED.
I dealt with this a lot today. Thankfully, I kept my calm, which is highly unusual for me. I am not naturally calm or easy-going. I heard a new term tonight that fits me rather well, “stress ball.” Yes. That’s me. Control freak–also applicable.
The thing is that in order to truly teach healthy reactions to stress, we have to model them. Ah, therein lies the rub. Don’t expect your children to act any better than you act yourself.
Great take-aways from chapter 1:
1. Back off. Don’t expect to hug them at the front door of the school. “Wave good-bye from the porch.” (p. 22) This point really hit home for me. I had to make that transition last year, with my eight-year-old. He totally gets cranky if he feels I’m being over helicopter-mom-ish. He feels like, “Hey, I got this. Don’t treat me like a baby.” Those are valid feelings. We grown-ups don’t like being over-policed either. It can be very frustrating to be capable of doing way more than you are allowed to do. A kid that is allowed a little freedom/space (within reason, of course) is a much happier kid.
2. FYI: The first born has an increased need to be right about things. Being fair is big at this age.
3. These kids are transitioning from imagination to reason. The book says tweens should be becoming less afraid of the unknown.
4. The moral environment in your home still plays a vital role. Young girls brought up on MTV will behave much differently than pubescent daughters that do not have that in their home. (p.28)
5. “Endocrine changes awaken a sense of romantic sensitivity in girls much earlier than they do in boys.” (p. 29)
6. Growing influence of peers!!
7. This is when “your child will strike deep moral roots–for good or ill–with or without your guidance. Younger children live off Mom and Dad’s values. But during the middle years, children begin to take personal ownership of their values.” (p. 31)
Oh man…..can I go throw up from the pressure!!???
If only I could make these decisions for them!! But no, I can’t. I can only do my best to influence him for good–through modeling right behaviors and teaching moral truths from God.
8. Transitioning from being reminded to being responsible
I love this one. They already know what they are supposed to do, as far as household and classroom routines go. No more reminding them. You should expect them to do what’s right. This book teaches the phrase, “Do you have the freedom to go outside?” rather than “Put your plate away.” I’ve been using this, and it does work pretty well.
9. “The parent transitions from parenting by authority to parenting by influence.” p. 31
I’m still figuring out what that means exactly because we certainly still have to use our authority a lot. Thankfully, this is discussed much further in chapter 3. Coming soon to this blog!!