A Tried and True Parenting Toolbox for Tween Girls
When my little girls were young, it wasn’t easy physically keeping up with them.
As a solo mom most of the time, I was almost always outnumbered.
However, play and games were almost always an easy distraction that could take away any tough moments.
A little game of peek-a-boo or hide and seek cured everything.
Then those same little girls grew up and became tweens and those baby games don’t work when a friend treats them poorly at school or a teacher mishandles a situation or they just feel overwhelmed with a complicated math homework.
And those games definitely don’t work when there’s a problem in the home. And so I have had to seriously change my parenting toolbox over the past year.
And I imagine I’ll be doing the same again over the next two years or so as they enter into the pre-teen era.
For now, though, these ideas work and they work well to teach valuable lessons.
Empathy is Your Best Friend
Any human being, regardless of how petty their concerns are, craves for someone — anyone — to empathize with them. And if it’s your child who needs that then you need to be the one to give it to them. And if you are not willing or able to do that, then you need to ask yourself who will be able to do that? Hopefully you see the value in empathizing yourself, or at the very least seeking out a positive role model who can offer that empathy in your place.
Never talk about serious stuff at home during daylight.
Take your business to the backyard hammock or talk about it in the car — or, at the very least, talk about it before bed when the lights are low and everyone is relaxed. When our girls are in the moment, all they want is empathy. But, later, when they start to see the bigger picture they can truly problem solve better. And that’s always done best when in a relaxed environment.
Show don’t tell is one of those great tips writers give other writers. Well, it’s now a parenting tip that one parent is giving another. Show them how you want them to respond/act/talk/clean … don’t tell them. If you want them to pick up something on the floor, just point it out, don’t tell them to do it. In fact, I’m pretty sure there’s a law of attraction rule that says the second you tell a tween girl to do something they innately refuse and walk away. But, if you create an atmosphere where you empower them to do things for themselves, they WANT to do it. Crazy.
Ask lots of questions.
The second we start asking questions instead of telling them what to think and do, we empower our girls to think for themselves. This is hard for those of us who are used to controlling many things. But asking questions is the best parenting tool in the box. It relieves you, the parent, of needing to be responsible and puts all the responsibility and thinking in the mind of your girl. Questions like how would you solve this or what do you think we need to do about this are two great questions that swings the door back the other way. And any wide open door is a door of a learning opportunity.
What tools are in your parenting Abundant Girls toolbox right now?