How to Fix Rude "Tween" Behavior
Preteens aren't children anymore, but they're not quite young adults. During these "tween" years, kids ramp up their rude behavior - sarcastic remarks, eye-rolling, sudden outbursts, and sullen silences. As tweens adjust to their changing world and surging hormones, you may find it hard to keep the house stress-free.
How can you fix their rude "tween" behavior now and restore peace at home? Here are some simple tips to follow.
- Set clear boundaries. The rules that you had when your child was six are not going to apply at this age. Decide what's important to you to help you reset them: is it more important that your preteen is honest and has good grades, or that he not roll his eyes and has a clean room? Once you decide what's important, you can overlook the little things, like an annoyed sigh when you give directions. As soon as preteen behaviors you don't want begin - like walking off in the middle of a conversation - clearly tell your child that you cannot tolerate that.
- Maintain your parental status. You are not your preteen's friend. You are a parent, so take control. Don't do things to make your kids think you're cool. Your actions should make them better people.
- Choose a tween-appropriate punishment. Preteens don't care about little rewards or punishments as they get older. Instead, when bad behavior happens, remove a favorite activity or privilege - like TV or going to a friend's house. Don't say things you can't enforce, like banning something forever or "grounded for life." If you keep it up, preteens will learn to avoid things that have a negative consequence.
- Show respect. Don't ever interrupt or insult your preteen. That way, you model what respect looks like. If your preteen shows disrespect to you, remind them that you're a person too, and you have feelings that can also be hurt.
- Cool off. Let preteens take a minute to calm down. If that means going to their room for fifteen minutes, fine. Just make sure you know where they are during their cool-off time, and give yourself a moment to breathe too.
- Have some face-to-face time. Invite your preteen to walk the dog with you, to help you grocery shop, or just take a drive with you. The easiest way to tell if a behavior change is temporary or permanent is to spend time getting to know your child one-on-one. If you do it enough, they will learn to trust you and come to you for help. Ask questions, and listen when they speak.
- Fan the home fires. Take the time to be together as a whole family. Make and eat dinner together, play a board game once a week, visit a new spot in town - do something regularly that allows you to talk and have fun without texting or having other people over.