What My Tween Boys WANT Parents to Know
Let me make something clear…do not confuse TWEEN with TEEN. They’re in different worlds in a lot of ways. While this may apply to TEENS…my boys aren’t teens yet. They are almost 10 and 11. Around this house we are in solid “tweenland” (ugh…don’t remind me…)
Recently there was a flood of posts about tweens/teens: “What a Boy Wants from his Mom…” or “What a Boy Needs from his Mom…” or “What a Mom should Know…” (I think it had to do with Mother’s Day, I’m not quite sure). I will admit, I didn’t read them all (come on people, there’s only but so much time in a day). The ones I did read were from the perspective of the Mom (I know, that’s who’s writing it). I’ve been chewing on this one for a few days and keep thinking, what IS it that my boys want me to know? Where do they see me fitting in their ever changing world right now?
So, as you’ll see me do countless times in this blog, I asked them. On our walk the other day, we talked about it and this was what they said. Here are the top things my boys want Todd and I to be/do (no specific order according to them)…when I could I tried to use their word. Also, they determined and wrote the headers for each section…
And this post has been TWEEN APPROVED!
Since my oldest could talk, he’s asked me almost every day (usually before “good morning”) “what’s for dinner.” This child has yet to grasp the concept my mind doesn’t process anything until I’ve had my morning coffee. Anyway I do try my best to have an answer figured out the night before (yes, if I was the “organized” mom, I meal plan. Typically, I’m just not that organized. In my Pinterest mind I am…heck, I’m even going to blog about my heroic plans for this summer…does that count?)
Anyway, he’s glad that even though the world around him is changing (friends, schools, teachers, bodies, etc), he knows at home things are basically the same. He knows that he can count on the fact that he has something remaining “normal” and “steady” in “a world full of craziness.”
I’ll try to keep this in mind. Even though I’m trying new recipes (I’m pinning ideas, check out my meal board), I need to remember, my kids like my good ol’ standbys. New is good, change is fun (well that’s all relative)…but I need to remember not to grow them up too fast. They want to be treated “older,” but at the same time…I think they still want some of their regular kid stuff to stick around (now to just figure out what that is…).
UNDERSTAND THEY CAN CONTRIBUTE TO THE CONVERSATION
My middle said that he’s learned a lot of cool stuff in school this year. They aren’t just learning the boring “normal” stuff like his younger sister. He’d like his dad and I to understand that there will now be times when he WILL be able to contribute something to the conversation that he knows and we don’t. He must be given that opportunity rather than his dad and I assuming we “already know.”
There is nothing they like more than knowing they finally are able to teach us something we don’t know.
Even though they are “older” doesn’t mean they don’t still want to talk to their dad and/or me. But it’s becoming harder to figure out ways to now do that. They like how I still come in and do “prayer time.” I doubt they tell their friends they do it (my middle son verified I’m right), but they know that is a time they will definitely have my full attention. They like how I ask them questions beyond just “how was your day.” As annoying as it is sometimes, at least according to them, they figure I must really want to know.
Usually we have check-in time when they first walk in from school during “snack time”. It’s quick, maybe 5-10 minutes, but that’s when I ask them what happened in their day. I’ll ask them about their classes, who they sat with at lunch? What funny thing a teacher said that day? What did they do in math? (that’s their favorite subject) What did they talk about with everyone walking home from school? (they are walkers). Just random stuff…but at least I’ve heard a little more about their day, and if something sounds “off” I try to note it for “prayer time.”
REMEMBER MOM/DAD DON’T KNOW ALL THE ANSWERS ANYMORE
They want me to own it for real. They know Mom & Dad don’t know it all anymore (I guess we had them snowed that at one point we did). They know we cheat and look stuff up on google. Just own it.
They know that we don’t have all the “parenting” stuff figured out and that’s why we change things sometimes. My oldest said, “when you change the rules or consequences, rather than just changing them, own the fact you think you weren’t doing it right before.” And with respect to the rules/consequences, “give us a chance to give some suggestions, not saying you’ll like them, but it’s possible.”
WE ALREADY KNOW YOU LOVE US (BUT YOU ALWAYS SAYING IT IS A GOOD THING)
I made a decision literally the day we brought home my first child that I may screw everything else up, but he was at least going to know I loved him. Through all the ups and downs we’ve had in our household, the one thing the kids have always been able to hold on to is that I love them. They hear me say it to them several times a day. I asked the boys about it and this is what my oldest said: “we know you love us…but yeah…it’s good to hear it.”
I PROMISE If there is anything you do for your Tween, it is to make sure they know in their CORE that you love them. I know you do, YOU know you do, but THEY need to know you do. And even though the response I get almost EVERY TIME I say to one of my kids when I say “I love you” is “I already know that” with lots of eye rolling and sighing, I’m still not going to stop saying it. I remember my oldest looking up at me (he was about 4) when I said, “I love you”…responding “I already know that, you can stop saying it already.” I told him, I’m going to say it to you everyday as long as I can, and he rolled his eyes and walked away. That was one of the best days of my life.
Please know this…I will NEVER claim to be a CERTIFIED expert. My degrees are in Finance, not anything Child related. I’m a MOM like YOU. Yet, isn’t that what this is all about. It takes a village to raise children. If we can’t turn to our village for help/advice, who can we turn to? Sure, a couple of degrees from great schools is wonderful. But, seriously, I’ve learned so much more sitting around with my girl friends sharing our “war stories” (or reading stories from other moms and how they survived) than I have from most “expert” parenting books (sorry to all those parenting books). In my humble opinion, what makes an expert is actually having the tweens running around in your house!
Always remember you are AWESOMESAUCE!