Thursday, October 1, 2009

TWEENS-A Life between childhood and teenage

This stage of life (approximately between 9 to 12 years) needs to be dealt with very delicately, and it will pave the way for a smoother adolescence. Today’s Tweens are facing a completely new world, and we adults have to adapt to it.

Age of onset of puberty is steadily coming down, but more than that, children are getting wider exposure to the world in the pre-teen years.

  • There is confusion because their feelings are not real (no hormonal development as yet)
  • Advertisers are targeting younger and younger consumers – to use their pester power Guilt of busy and rich parents manifests in appeasing kids by giving material rewards
  • There is a consumer culture, buy now and pay later. Tweens want everything NOW.
  • During this age they begin understanding value system of world, are keenly observant
  • TV watching habits start changing – Soap serials make them aware of relationships
  • Awareness of their adult relations & their good and bad qualities begins
  • Aware of adult interactions at home & financial matters
  • Aware of parents fighting with each other
  • First rebelliousness with teachers – we need to talk about good/bad teachers
  • Study pattern starts changing – modern Math, more difficult subjects
  • Gender roles start off – boys vs. girls (parents overdo the difference at times), confusion
  • Deep down they are still very innocent, don’t get misled by their adult vocabulary
  • First signs of loneliness appear. Cases of suicide in this age group are increasing.
  • Improving and Facilitating Their Growth:
  • Communicate with them: Listen, be non-judgmental
  • Give them direction, goals in life, “you are unique” – build a sense of identity
  • Discuss role models – APJ Abdul Kalam is a good one
  • Balancing academics & sports should begin at this stage
  • Discuss values, don’t sermonize, involve them and their opinion without being critical
    • Start off by allowing them privacy & space
    • Saying and encouraging “I love you” verbally & non-verbally – touch them a lot
    • Impart Sex education and awareness of relationships, family, boy-girl
    • Fashion – parents sometimes encourage mod dresses at this age & then regret later
  • They start becoming aware of body image
    • Start setting consistent discipline at this age – with explanation why the restrictions
    • Teach them to handle money, give them small responsibilities
  • Have at least one adult from family circles who they can confide in
  • Peer Age is starting – discuss friends & give respect to their friends
  • Encourage autonomy – allow wings to develop, grow with them.

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