Speaking Point: There is this interesting, yet unfortunate collision in the dynamics of the relationship between parent and child when the child becomes a "tween.”
It is often said that the "tween years,” the bridge between childhood and teenage adolescence is a brutal time in a child's development (This is not to be confused with the "Teen years,” which is the bridge between adolescence and adulthood).
You see, "Tweenagers" are in the developmental process of "differentiating" and "individuating" from their parents as they step into the exploration of their true self, separate from their parents identity.
It is truly the first step in the cutting of the invisible "umbilical cord" between parent and child.
Speaking Point: So...on the parent side of things... 1. There is often this resistance and un-readiness of the parent to give the child the space and freedom to navigate some on their own in order to practice being "different" from their parents. 2. This emotional un-readiness of the parent can often manifest itself in an uncomfortable, awkward hyper-focus from the parent onto the child, making the child’s attempt to be seen as an individual entity difficult to accomplish...and embarrassing to say the least.
Speaking Point: So...on the Tween side of things... 1. Not trusting their parent’s reaction to their attempts at individuation, many Tweens feel they must take a stand and present the position that everything and anything their parents do or say is downright ridiculous and embarrassing to them. 2. The Tweens biggest fear becomes that their peers see them as still their parent’s little child and not the independent entity they want the world to see.
Speaking Point: This concurrent developmental dynamic is a collision course for most families of conflict, power struggles and defiance, yet completely unnecessary! Parents must understand the developmental NECESSITY of what their Tween is attempting to do.
Speaking Point: If parenting was a basketball game, this would be the time for parents to remove the "man to man" defense and go to a "zone.” In a zone defense, the defender sets boundaries giving the ball-handler space to dribble the ball, just as long as they don’t step out of the zone prescribed.
Speaking Point: When parents allow for their child to differentiate, and practice "dribbling" their own ball in a space big enough for the child to handle, there is no power struggle, no conflict, and no need for the Tween to be embarrassed by anyone.
Speaking Point: Why? Because the Tween feels respected and supported by their parents to begin practicing on their own.
Speaking Point: Parents, ready or not, when your child is ready to practice being their own person, it’s your responsibility to move to the sidelines a bit and coach them through it.