Eight ways to bond with your TWEEN
The formative ‘tween’ years, or pre-teens, offer a great opportunity to build a special bond with your child. The challenge is, they’re at an age where they still want to hang out with you while also navigating the road towards becoming a more independent teenager. Here are some ways to get around that and make the most out of the tween years
OUT WITH THE OLD, IN WITH THE NEW
Okay, so having a playdate at the mall is getting old, and that’s because your child is growing. If you’d like to work on that special bond, you’re going to have to find more ways to hang out with your child doing the things they love – or things you know that they’ll love. Have you ever tried surfing? Snorkeling? What about paintball fights? Find something you haven’t done together before, and your child will sure appreciate the effort you’re making to bond over fun activities.
INDULGE IN SOME PAMPERING
If you have a tween-age daughter, look for salon discounts and mother-daughter offers, there’s plenty in the UAE. But if you feel like you can’t find something you like – why not try making your own salon/spa at home? Do some deep conditioning for your hair while watching a movie or manis and pedis and facials, taking selfies along the way. Hashtag mum-daughter fun!
FOCUS ON CLOSENESS RATHER THAN ATTACHMENT
It can be difficult to see your child grow into their own person. Part of you might want them to still need you and, secretly, want them to rely on you for everything, just like things were before they started growing up. The most important thing to realise at this point is that this relationship is not about attachment, but rather closeness. Your child doesn’t need to be latching onto you but feel close to you – close enough that they can share secrets and tell you about their day without fearing that you’ll judge them.
GIVE THEIR ROOM A ‘GROWN-UP’ MAKEOVER
There’s nothing a tween loves more than being seen as more ‘grown-up’. Even though they’re technically still children, you’ll find that their love for teddy bears and princesses has greatly decreased. Spend some time shopping together for new items or get your DIY on and create some beautiful decorations. New room, new phase!
PLANT YOUR FOOD
We can’t ask you to turn your garden into a farmer’s market, but some things are so easy to plant, and you won’t believe how fun it can be! You can plant some fresh herbs such as mint, rosemary, cilantro and thyme. This is a great experience for your tweens as it teaches them good values and is so much fun at the same time.
MAKE IT A PRIORITY
Picture this: You barely see hubby, and when you finally get the time, you two sit together, and he opens up, telling you everything that’s been keeping him busy for the past few months. Too good to be true? Well, that’s because it is.
Ensure that time with your tween is a priority and make sure they know that. You can always find some free time for them. If you’re always at work or out and about and they’re always with friends, how will you build that very special bond?
ENCOURAGE THEM AND BUILD TRUST
Trust begins from infancy; this is when baby learns that they can trust you to pick them up. Of course, as your child is growing up, they need more reassurance from you over time. They need to know that they can rely on you for their physical and emotional needs. We earn their trust over time in many ways: not breaking promises, picking them up on time, playing that game like we said we would, etc.
At the same time, we trust them. We trust them to grow and mature, and make the right decisions while we’re not there. However, most importantly, trust means you don’t give up on your child. It means persisting, no matter how much work that is. Make sure you’re there for your child when they need you the most.
REMEMBER FAMILY RULES
Even though we’re genetically pre-programmed to love our children, family relationships are still hard work. Remember that this, like any other relationship, will take a great deal of effort – especially as they get older. The tween phase is just that – a phase – and like any other it comes with hardships. As long as you maintain a healthy connection with your children, the love will always be mutual and the bond you share will be as incredible as can be.