Tag Archives: Pre-Teen

Young man sleeping, pink sheet green shirt.

Should I still be co-sleeping with my teenager?

“Hi, I’ve been using the Hand in Hand tools for a few years but my husband has never really been on board. I’ve modelled using the Tools – and over the years he used to help me with Special Time when they were little, and he’s watched me hold them through their tantrums, instead of scolding them and sending them off. We are now separated, and while we are on the same page in many ways around parenting, my husband has been pushing our son, who is 12, to sleep in his own room.

Yes! I still co-sleep with all three of my kids 13, 12, and almost 11. LOL! But my husband is worried that my son is too old to still “sleep in mama’s bed”, and is afraid it’ll make him “soft”, etc.  I have to say, I DO want my son to grow up to be a tough guy like dad. I still believe in masculinity, but I also believe in emotional intelligence. So, part of me sees his point, but the other part of me doesn’t mind them being in there with me and I know they have always felt better sleeping with me. Do I talk to dad, who likely won’t hear what I have to say? Do I let son sleep in my room and not tell dad (something I’d rather not do)? But it’s because I don’t mind them being in there with me and I know they have always felt better sleeping with me. Do I stick to dad’s wishes, knowing that son will be okay…and there are other ways to connect and make him feel safe? ”

Such good questions! I think there are several issues here, at least two of which are co-sleeping with older children, and managing your relationship with your ex-husband. Continue reading

Upset teen girl sits, head hidden, blocking us out.

A Little Bit of Special Time Goes a Long Way

It’s easy to put off Special Time.  After all, family life is busy, and in some ways gets oddly busier when we have older children.   But Special Time it brings rich benefits when we do it.  Most importantly it builds emotional safety.

Even when it is “pretty basic”, as this mother puts it, Special Time refreshes and renews our children’s sense of our confidence in and for them, and reassures them of our love for them.  This is what our children need in order to begin offloading the emotional backpacks they are carrying around.  As they get older, those backpacks are more tightly buckled down that they used to be.  Our children learn to “suck it up” and hold it in for fear of social death if they let their feelings show.

So after Special Time, this mother finds her 11 year old daughter’s grumpy mood dissolves, and out rolls a big upset.  It can be hard to know whether to go or stay when our children tell us to go away.  At least sometimes, however, it’s worth staying, and listening it out… Continue reading

Tween using mobile phone/cell phone to text. Photo by Carlssa Rogers, https://flic.kr/p/9qQCYc

When she must have a phone…

Sometimes, holding a limit on something – so long as we are pretty sure the limit is reasonable –  can open up a whole lot of feelings about other things. This is as true of our pre-adolescent and adolescent children as is is of our younger children. In fact, as young people internalise the message that they shouldn’t show their feelings, a well-held limit can provide just the opening. Here’s how it worked for one mother and her daughter: Continue reading

Helping Your Angry Pre-Teen

More on the topic of Pre-Teens.  If you have Pre-Teen children, you will know that things start to change.  Special Time can be a great tool for parents and children to stay connected through times of change, including times when we don’t feel we really understand each other.

Special Time – a dedicated period of time where we put aside our pre-occupations and concerns, pay full attention to our child, and delight in them – begins to change as your children’s interests change.  But the magic that it works still applies:  it builds emotional safety into our relationship with our children at a particularly important time.

And when we do this, children will start to show us their upsets.  By the time they are 8, 9 10, some of those upsets will be about us, and much will be about what it has been like being a young person for 10 years or so, in a world that does not treat young people with much respect.

We need to listen warmly at these times, giving our children all the attention we can muster.  Inevitably, the upsets will tend to be scrappier and less direct than using the process with younger children.  When they were little we could being them onto our lap and hold them as they sobbed out their sorrows, but now they are more “defended” and their sorrows have hardened into anger, and we are working hard just to keep our foot in the door, before it slams (literally and metaphorically!).

But every bit of warm, non-judgemental hanging-in-there with our Pre-Teens makes a difference.  They notice EVERYTHING we do, and it all still matters to them.

Here’s a great article by Hand in Hand  Founder, Patty Wipfler, on just what is going on for our Pre-Teen children, and for us:

http://www.handinhandparenting.org/article/helping-angry-preteens/

 

Five Tips for Parenting your Pre-Teen

Guest Post by Julie Johnson, Parenting by Connection Instructor, Berkely, CA, USA

Pre-Teen sisters smile at the camera.

Sisters, by Jenn Durfey, [CC-BY-2.0], https://flic.kr/p/997BZr

My colleague, Julie Johnson and I both have pre-teen children.  We recently recorded a Teleseminar for Hand in Hand Parenting called “Navigating the Preteen Years Without Tearing Your Hair Out”.  You can find details of how to listen for free at the end of this article.

Over the next few months, Julie and I are planning more work with parents of Pre-Teens. Today I’d like to share her recent post about some research into just what Pre-Teens and Teens want from us, each other, and the world. Continue reading