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: