Don’t you love the drama of the tween years? Though you may be tempted to throw your hands in the air and give up on your tween daughter, you really do have the ability to bond with your tween girl and help her grow up into a physically and emotionally healthy young woman. Here’s how.
Talk, talk, talk with your tween
Everyone is texting and tweeting and no one is communicating. Choose an activity you can do together to give you a chance to talk. My daughter and I cleanse our skin together before bed, and I use those few minutes as a time where she tells me about school, her friends and whatever else is on her mind. If a child feels you are present and not distracted by your cell phone, it will help her feel secure in herself going forward. After all, if your own mother doesn't want to hear about your life, who will?
Don't be judgmental of your tween
Whether your daughter asks about shaving, getting her period, wearing makeup or having sex, you should be thoughtful and understanding. Do not change the subject, make her feel ashamed for asking or tell her she is too young for such talk. She is looking to you for guidance so she can feel confident in her decisions. Listen to her and assure her you will always be there for her. Discuss the issue at hand, ask her what her friends are doing and give her honest answers.
Be a positive role model for your tween
If you encourage your daughter to eat healthy and exercise -- while you sit on the couch eating chips -- you are sending her a mixed message. If you do not want her to make your mistakes, take the opportunity to modify your behavior and ask for her help. Clean out the junk food together and replace it with fruits and veggies. Take a bike ride with her, do a fun workout DVD together and get healthy.
Encourage healthy social development with your tween's peers
To a tween, having friends is everything. Make your home a place where her friends want to come. Encourage her to invite girls over for sleepovers and plan lots of fun activities for them. You will get to know her friends and it will help her to develop strong friendships. If she feels she has friends, it will improve her self esteem.
Don't leave out your partner in raising your tween
Girls need both parents to help them develop healthy relationships going forward. Having special one-on-one time with each parent -- preferably without the other siblings present -- will make her feel special and give her the forum to talk about things she may not want to discuss with the other parent. This will make her feel more secure and foster better self esteem as she moves into womanhood.
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