As generations evolve, so does the art of parenting. Those of us who understand the needs of our children, and change our parenting styles with the changing times, will be the ones who will not have to worry about fixing broken adults when our kids grow up.
Raising the Zoomers is not an easy job. As parents, literally, we have to have eyes and ears everywhere. But is that even possible? No! Right. So, we have to find smarter ways to outrun this smart generation.
Traditional parenting rules don’t apply to our children. In the golden days of parenting, communication was a one-way street. Parents said, and the kids followed. The system doesn’t work similarly anymore these days. Communication is the basis of every parent-child relationship. It is a two-way street. An effective communication between parents and children lay a strong foundation of trust, respect, and love, especially with the pre-teens, tweens and teens.
Why Doesn’t My Child Listen to Me?
Do you yell, shout, advise or lecture your child every time there seems to be a little cleaning accident around the house or when you are upset? Remember, when a child is young, we can scold them, shout at them and later distract them, and they tend to forget that they were being yelled at. But as children grow older, they become sensitive as they start identifying with their feelings and emotions. They feel embarrassed and ashamed when shouted at. They aren’t looking for your advice when they spill or drop something or make a mistake. They are looking for your support and understanding.
Lecturing, believe me, is the last thing they need from you. Children between the age of 9 years to 17 years are old enough to realize their mistakes. They are not looking for punishments and verbal torture. Your voice is not music to their ears at that moment. And in the process, you may as well push your child further away. When we yell or lecture them, they tend to become cold and distant with time. And if we don’t mend our ways, they may alienate themselves completely from us. Would you like your child looking at you like you were a stranger? Of course, not!
What Can You Do to Understand Your Child Better?
As a mother of a naughty, strong-headed tweeny and a sensitive, mama’s boy teen, I have had my share of yelling, sleepless nights, crying to make things right, and waiting for them to respond and not react. As a parent, I felt like a huge failure at times, and guilt trips became a regular in my life. But I have to agree, I wanted them to work on themselves, their behavior, their attitude, without realizing it was me, who had to work on myself first. I had to work on my tone, time-management skills, and hence began my self-growth journey. The sanest advice to all my fellow parents is that as a parent, we should never stop learning. Our kids will evolve every decade, and so should our parenting skills.
Self-growth comes with self-awareness. To become aware of my unhealthy parenting patterns and break them, I had to make conscious efforts to change old habits. It wasn’t a piece of cake, I will admit. But it has improved my relationship with my children, and I no more feel like my body has been sucked out of energy by the end of the day.
List of 8 Smart Tween-Teen Tips for Happy Parenting
Are you wondering, what did I do differently? Did I find a magic wand that goes doing the job, as I say the magic word ‘abracadabra’? Though I wish that would have been easier! Jokes apart, I just became consciously smarter. Sharing my smart hacks and tips here to get your relationship with your kids on track.
Setting Rules for House Chores: Always involve your child(ren) to help you with the house chores. As per your child’s availability, assign them time for tasks like folding laundry, drying utensils and keeping in place, cleaning their room, and helping you set the lunch/dinner table. These activities will not only make them responsible, but also make them realize the effort and hard work that goes into maintaining a clean house for everyone to live comfortably.
Setting Rules for Using Smartphones: Smartphones and kids seem inseparable these days. But as a parent, it is our job to make sure that they are not glued to gadgets. Make a few rules for using phones in the house, like no phones allowed at meal times, all phones should be switched off by 10 pm, and the morning should not start with their smartphones. With pre-teens and tweens you can even set a usage time of 40 minutes to an hour, that includes their game time and chatting with friends if there is a need to. Be a role model to show that smartphones are a necessity and not a luxury. Make sure that you are a good role model. Do not use your phone at meal times. Do not pick up your phones to look at every time it pings. Don’t waste your time on social media. Children follow what they see, rather than listen to what they are told.
Limit TV Time: Children these days get bored easily, because there are a lot of distractions to keep them occupied. They have tabs and iPads, smartphones, and laptops. And now there is smart TV. Basically, their world is full of screens. So, how do you manage television time? Allow them 30-40 minutes in the afternoon and 30-40 minutes in the evening to watch their favorite series, so they do not get hooked to other screens. On Saturdays or Sundays, you can allow them extra time if you wish, but make sure not to overdo yourself expressing your love for them.
Study Smart, Pressure Half: Kids at any age need time to play. By play, I mean outdoor games. It is important to make sure their academic progress shows an upper line graph, not vice versa. But at the same time, it is not right to pressurize them by overloading our high-end expectations. 8 hours in school during weekdays are enough to exhaust them. Once they are back home, give them time to unwind. On weekdays, make them finish their homework daily. Check their classwork is up-to-date. And study only the subject lessons if there is a test next day. Keep Saturday and Sunday for revision of all subjects/chapters done during the week. This reduces a lot of mental pressure for our kids. It assures them that you trust in their ability and allow them the freedom to study at their own pace.
Making a Gratitude Journal: Gift your child a diary. Every night before bed, ask them to fill in the journal – 5 things they are grateful for today. You also keep a gratitude journal. And you and your kids can fill the journal together every night, gradually increasing the number of things you are grateful for each day. This will inculcate in them the habit of being thankful for everything, however small it may be, in life.
Feel Good Jar: Make a jar with your child’s name on it, and name the jar Feel Good Jar. Both parents and your child get together to write her positive, strong and good qualities on small chits of paper and put them in the jar. Make as many as you can. On days your child feels gloomy, upset about something or demotivated, ask him/her to pick up one chit from that jar. It is the sweetest way of reminding your child about their abilities. We all need a little push on such days. Sometimes, it is not easy for children to share with us what they are going through. This may be a silent, but a smart way to tell your child that ‘hey, I am right here if you need me!’
Spending Allowance: Considering the fact that most parents start giving allowance to kids by the age of 10. It is a great way to teach them to save little and spend little. If your child is adamant on buying something expensive that you cannot afford at the moment, or let’s say you can afford, but you have a limit on monthly purchase for every family member. And your child has exhausted that. Ask them to save their allowance, and once they are able to save the amount they need, they can buy what they wanted in the first place. But there is a catch. From every month’s allowance, they have to save a previously agreed amount. If they can do that, you can allow them to buy whatever they are eyeing at (no gadgets… make it a thumb rule, as we are trying to reduce their gadget time as well).
Give Away What You Don’t Use: If your child wants a new toy or a new book, try this. Ask them to clear their shelf of any old toys they do not use any more, and the books they have read and re-read. Make sure you give away those before you buy new things. Teach them the concept of sharing is caring.
These are little tips and a few hacks you can have up your sleeve to create a non-messy, strong bond with your children. I know these are not easier to follow, but once you get a hang of these, life will seem much simpler. Older kids are good at expressing emotions. It is just that, we parents are quick to judge them, so they prefer to stay cold and distant from us. But when there are rules in the house, and when those rules are followed by adults and kids alike, they start breaking the invisible wall they had created between you and themselves.
Happy Smart Parenting!
Check out this link: Positive Parenting Hacks and Tips for Smart Parents