Category Archives: Tweens
We’ve all heard these famous words before “I can do it myself, but don’t leave me”. You may be experiencing this same thing with your Jr. High student as you read this. It is just like the dependability and hindrance of training wheels on a bike. A young kid is a little apprehensive about learning how to ride on two wheels as opposed to four, but he or she doesn’t want to be the only five-year-old in the neighborhood who doesn’t know how to ride their bike without training wheels. Just as that little five-year-old is experiencing a bag of mixed emotions and trying to decide whether or not they need the help from their training wheels, so too your Jr. Higher is contemplating what they can do on their own and what they still need the dependability of mom and dad for.
As I stated in my previous blog post, Jr. High students are experiencing many new things at this cognitive developmental stage in their lives. They are ready to start doing some new things on their own and that’s a good thing. But, they also want to know that when or if they fail and fall off that bike, that mom and dad will be there with open arms ready to help them back up. I would encourage you as a parent to let your son or daughter try to do some things on their own that they previously needed your help with. This doesn’t mean that they no longer have a use for you, with the exception of your checkbook. It means that they need you in a different role. They need you on the sidelines coaching, encouraging, disciplining, and most of all praying for them as they embark on this amazing journey called “adolescence”. This is a HUGE role to fill, yet it is exciting to see all of the hard work that you’ve done pay off. You’re doing a great job, hang in there.
The Way They Learn is the title of a book by Cynthia Tobias that tells us about how our children learn best. 200 words is not even close to enough space to tell you about how it all works, so instead, I will get you started and if you like what you hear you can purchase the book yourself (you can order it from First Free’s bookstore “The Scroll”).
Have you ever wondered why some children learn better with flashcards and others can memorize things easier by seeing a picture? Or maybe you noticed that some children take what you say very literally and others can read between the lines or simply get the ”gist” of it. This happens because of a child’s learning style and understanding a child’s learning style will not only help you at home, but it will help your child succeed at school!
When I was in college, I visited Paris, France over spring break with some friends. Not knowing a lick of French, It was an extremely frustrating task trying to order food, get directions, or even find the bathroom! The language barrier stopped me dead in my tracks when it came to communication. I tell you this as an example of how we should try to look at the way children learn. If you fail to communicate with them or have them study in a way that does not connect with them, it’s like me speaking with the Frenchman…FRUSTRATING! If you want to help your child both at home and in school, I highly suggest picking up this book from Focus on the Family and learning more about how your child learns best.
“The awkward turtle” is a gesture you make with two hands (it looks like a turtle) when someone has raised a very, well, awkward topic in a conversation and you want to move out of it quickly. If you could see me now, I am using the awkward turtle because this article briefly addresses the often-uncomfortable issue of sex education.
Preteens (children ages 10-12) are entering their pubescent stage where they undergo their greatest physiological development. As their voices crack and body odor becomes more apparent, they also begin to…take a deep breath parents…recognize the opposite sex! Obviously, this is a good thing because God wired us this way. But there are dangers. Movies and Internet provide plenty of “sex sells” type advertising and pornography is a thriving industry still in the United States. Here is a fact we need to accept…YOUR CHILDREN WILL BE EXPOSED TO THESE REALITIES…so why not beat the world to the punch?
I have one simple suggestion in this article: be the first one to discuss the difficult topics of dating, sexuality, drugs and alcohol, etc. with your children. If they are going to hear/see/think about it because of the world, we might as well have the first shot at telling them about God’s purpose for our lives and our bodies before the world says otherwise! You are the best judge of when your preteen is ready, but typically around 5th or 6th grade you want to at least begin having those conversations with your child.
No, date nights are not just for mom and dad! How often do you have a “date night” with your kids? Parents sometimes feel very disconnected from their preteens because in a rapidly changing world, these digital natives keep up while parents are feeling a bit left in the dust. Well here are 10 simple but fun things you could be doing with your preteen. All you need to do is…set a date!
- Play video games. Ok ok, I know, you have not played video games since the Nintendo (or even Atari?) years. Who cares, let your preteen smash you. Who knows…maybe you’ll like it!
- Go to a movie.
- Play them in a game of basketball…or whatever sport they prefer.
- Go out for ice cream.
- Give them a spending limit and head to your local Toys-R-Us. Buy something you can have fun with together.
- Go on a bike ride.
- Read a story.
- Take them to a baseball game.
- Go to the mall and have lunch at the food court.
- Play a board game (one of my favorites!).
Sometimes I get surprised by the pictures a student is willing post or comments they are writing to write on facebook. Parents: Do you have access to your son or daughter’s facebook? If you are thinking “Oh no…they wont let me,” or “they freak out every time I ask.” Sounds like it’s time to delete their facebook or block it from your home with a program like net nanny. You won’t let them leave the house with people you don’t trust, why is the Internet any different?
Here is some great insight from my friend Greg Speck, “Give your kids privacy in non-public domains like a journal or private blog/file on the computer. They need that privacy, but not in a public venue because they do not have the emotional maturity, you what to trust your kids and that is great but that emotional maturity comes with time.”
This is wisdom, you should have access to their public venues; tweets, facebook, myspace, text messages, etc. You children may not understand it now but what they are writing and posting is forever. It is saved, logged, and easily duplicated.
I am a tech nerd and proud of it. I do not serve technology I make technology serve me, and I want you to do the same. Here are a few resources I think you will find helpful…
Not sure about a movie or wonder if a movie is appropriate for your family? Check out http://www.pluggedin.com, a resource from Focus On The Family…they also have an app for your iPhone.
Do you have younger kids? Take them to http://www.jellytelly.com. This is now a FREE site that has some great biblical content, my boys (7yrs, and 4yrs) love it!
Feel free to post your favorite resources in the comments below!