Sex, Alcohol and Your Tweens

With texting, video chat and hormones raging are we moms nervous, you bet! We have some great mom generated tips to help you and your kids navigate middle school.

1. Get informed. There are a lot of rumors flying around about sexting, rainbow parties, drug use and more. Some of these are in fact true and supported by feedback from local police agencies. But we need not panic. Become a parent a parent who knows the facts by joining the PTO at your school, attending MASK meetings and reading relevant books and articles on the teen years.

2. Learn to talk effectively with your tweens. Annie Fox at and Dr. Oguntala at offer timely and meaningful tips on communicating with your tweens. Consider reading The Parent as Coach by Diana Sterling, Are you Wearing That by Deborah Tannen and Get Out of My Life but First Will You Take Me and Cheryl To The Mall Anthony E. Wolf Ph.D. Learn to appreciate the ebbs and flows in your relationship, they will come close then be distanced. This is part of the tween-parent relationship.

3. Participate in school offerings such as the parent education seminars provided during the year. Learn what activities your school has to offer so that your kids are busy developing skills through activities at school such as sports, photography, art, music and dance. Research shows that kids who are involved in activities have less down time, less screen time and develop friendships with more productive schoolmates.

4. Take your tween seriously. Your tween is closer now to being an adult than a child. Your role is moving more toward mentor and coach. Respect your tween’s personal privacy. I don’t mean fail to check their room if you suspect drug use. But I do mean stop talking about them, sharing their experiences with your friends and talking about them like they are a youngster. Having them overhear you on the phone talking about their stuff is the fastest way to make them feel outed. They’ll clam up like no tomorrow.

5. Teach your child problem solving and decision making skills by listening carefully to their concerns and generating solutions with them. Allow them some personal space where you do not constantly question. Allow them to come to you to start a dialogue. If you must, use open ended questions and refrain from offering your immediate opinions.

6. Make time for your tweens. Just cause they are into their friends doesn’t mean they are not into you. Find out what interests them and learn how to participate. If it’s a sport, art or music, get with the current trends so that you can express interest and share their enthusiasm. Finding common ground is the key.

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About the Author

Dr. Lynne Kenney is the nation’s leading pediatric psychologist in the development of classroom cognitive-physical activity programs for students grades K-8. Dr. Kenney develops curriculum, programming, and activities to improve children’s cognition through coordinative cognitive-motor movement, executive function skill-building strategies, and social-emotional learning. Dr. Kenney’s works include the Social-Emotional Literacy program Bloom Your Room™; Musical Thinking; Bloom: 50 things to say, think and do with anxious, angry and over-the-top-kids and 70 Play Activities For Better Thinking, Self-Regulation, Learning and Behavior. Learn more at Lynne is a member of the PedSafe Expert team


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