Parenting Tips: Tweens Know More Than You ThinkBy Child Safety Specialist May 1, 2012 | 02:00 PMPosted in: Family, Child Safety
I sometimes have a hard time looking at my 9 year-old daughter and realizing that she’s not my little girl anymore. Actually at times she is, which is what makes these tween years so hard. They still believe in the tooth fairy and sleep with a stuffed animal but at the same time they know far more than they should about other topics. Like sex. And drugs.
Yesterday my daughter came home from school and informed me that she heard from one of her friends that high school kids go to parties and their friend’s homes and go into their parent’s medicine cabinet and take a bunch of pills. Fortunately we have an extremely open relationship and she wanted to know if this was true. I casually asked her where she had learned this and, of course, it was from a little girl in class who’s been saying a lot for the sole purpose of shock value. She has two older sisters so I’m sure she’s hearing a lot. This same little girl had informed my daughter several weeks prior that she should never let a boy stand close to her as he will want to look down her shirt.
You might think a situation like this is unusual but it’s not. It’s repeating itself at elementary and middle schools all around the country. Many parents feel they’re protecting their child from too much information by keeping the TV off at home. Trust me, there still hearing and seeing things. Whether it’s headlines on the tabloids at the supermarket check-out line, a YouTube video that a friend has shown them or just rumors in school, your tweens know more than you think.
Oftentimes this information is confusing to our young kids and they need to feel comfortable talking to you to get the facts. Here are a few parenting tips for talking to your tweens about all of those difficult topics:
Start early and often – don’t assume your child’s too young to know about drugs, sex or another other topic. You don’t necessarily have to sit them down and “have a talk” but find those teachable moments and always remind them that they can speak with you about anything.
Utilize parenting resources – If you feel uncomfortable talking about a particular topic, find resources online that will help them get accurate information. A great site to answer almost any question they’d have about sex (and definitely the ones they wouldn’t want to ask you!) is TeenHealthFX.com –
Get them smart – It’s easy for a tween to believe a friend who seems more popular or knowledgeable. Teach your child to question what they’re told and research the information themselves. If they come to you for advice or information, try not to lecture but rather talk through an issue, what the consequences would be and how they could avoid a risky situation
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