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Ways to Cope With Tween Attitude

4 Tips to Deal With Tween Attitude

Raising a tween isn't easy. They aren't yet as independent as teenagers (though they want to be) and they're more independent than younger kids. Many preteens deal with this uncertain time with what one Circle of Mom member calls "the Door Slamming-Foot Stamping stage."

Having made it through raising one tween and in the midst of raising another, I had to laugh at the accuracy of this description. The tween attitude is definitely accompanied by door slamming, foot stomping, and — even more infuriating — eye rolling.

It's an attitude that invites battle seemingly out of nowhere. As Michelle V. says of her daughter, "All the simple responsibilities/tasks that she used to help out with or do are now a battle." She wants to know how to deal with this ever-increasing attitude.


Circle of Moms members have great advice on how to empathize with your tween's struggle to be independent of you, and how to let them know what's unacceptable behavior.

Keep reading.

1. Stop Doing Everything For Them

Some moms say they've dealt with the battle over chores by stepping back and giving their tweens the independence they're fighting for. In fact, mom Jade H. suggests, "I'd say that you should make her grow up a little by stopping doing her laundry, dishes . . . [and] let her make her bed."

It's a good strategy — show your tween that you trust them enough to get things done and make them live up to the responsibility of it. Things may not get done well or on time, but your child is learning what it means to be independent and has to deal with the consequences if she forgets to do her laundry!

2. Take Away the Door

Of course, there's still the matter of door slamming to deal with. Moms say what they don't have, they can't slam. Member Jalanisalami says she replaced her tween's door with a beaded curtain. It still offers some privacy, but as this mom says, "Slam that!"

As for the foot stomping? Well, it's going to happen, but you can always take a lesson from Dana G.'s family. They don't allow shoes in the house, so stomping isn't nearly as noisy or effective in pushing her buttons.

3. Explain What's Bugging You

"When I tell her she is being disrespectful, she acts like she doesn't know what she said wrong, and sometimes I think she is telling the truth," Circle of Moms member Brandy W. says of her daughter. That could be word for word what I figured out about my daughter in her tween years.

One of the problems with dealing with a tween is that they can seem so grown-up that you sometimes forget they're not. What Brandy and I both realized is that tweens are trying on attitude that they see and hear from peers and TV.

They don't always understand that the tone and words aren't appropriate and they aren't always deliberately trying to be rude. You have to tell them what they've said wrong and offer up suggestions of how to say it more respectfully.

4. Remember Tweens and Toddlers Have a Lot in Common

As a mom who has had a toddler and a tween at the same time, I think toddler and tween attitude is very alike. From a growth perspective, it's true, too. A research study from Johns Hopkins University found that tweens undergo a brain-growth spurt that can only be compared to the one seen in infants and toddlers.

So if you think your tween is having toddler-like meltdowns, she really is. Mom Nicola V. adds: "They [also] seem to have similar issues with regards to independence and finding where they fit in the world." It doesn't help you in the moment, but it's information that can help you gain some empathy and perspective on your tween's chaotic mind.

Source: Peter Dazeley/Getty
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SamanthaFogg1366305347 SamanthaFogg1366305347 4 years
One thing that I think is important to remember is that the dynamics of your relationship with your child is always changing. For many parents reading this article, it is their first encounter with a maturing child, and it is important to remind yourself that your job as the parent is to teach the child how to become an independent individual. It is a major transition for the parent at this age, because the child is ready to exert some independence, yet we as parents are accustomed to being more actively involved in their day to day routines. It is we, as parents that need to rewire our thinking at this age, because our children are growing up, and we're not ready for it. Sometimes it helps to admit this to your child...that sometimes you still see them as that little girl/boy you once had, and agree that it's not fair to the child. However, this does NOT excuse their behavior. If you create a dialogue with your child where you admit that this is new territory for you, and you are apt to make a few mistakes along the way, then they will be more understanding of your perspective, and can offer their side of things. Then once this level of trust is established (Creating this dialogue is important to establish a feeling from your child that you are an approachable, reliable source of understanding. This will allow for a more open dialogue when your child has more critical things to discuss later in his/her life.) you can discuss a way where you can discuss those things in a more adult way...which is what they crave...being treated in a more mature, and less dictatorship kind of way. My experience with my 11 year old so far is this: First, I have taught her some basics of cooking, so that she is responsible for cooking the family meal 1 day per week (with some supervision, of course). She is responsible for sorting her own laundry (if red socks get washed with her white shirts and turn pink, then either she wears them, or has to use her own gift money to replace them). She is responsible for doing one household chore per day (so as to teach her the many things necessary to maintain a household). I make sure I do not overschedule her, because her main "job" is to do her best in school, as mine is to provide for the family needs. Second, I have spoken to her about how my thinking needs to change...because I have been a "mommy" for 10 years...and now it is time for me to look at her a little differently. I have explained how difficult it is for me, because I still see her as the little girl that (insert the various memories I've had over the years). I have asked for her help in identifying times when I am babying her too much, and how she can approach me about it without being disrespectful. I have also pointed out some of the things she does, how the tone and timing of her words might be construed as being disrespectful, and set me off. Together, we've come up with a plan for us to take a time out from one another when things get heated, and come back to the discussion when we both are more level headed and can discuss things like "adults." She really likes this, because as we all know...11 year olds think their going on 21 much of the time.
CoMMember13608856581647 CoMMember13608856581647 4 years
My 20 month old points her finger at me, and says things like "SIT ON YOUR BUTT!" "GET OUT OF HERE!" "SHEWWW MOMMY!" "GO AWAY" "I DONT WANT TO"... and my favorite... "DAMNIT!"... i'm sure there is more. every time though, i have to get down to eye level, and explain that it's not OK to talk to me like that, or "we dont use that word", but of course saying that for "damnit" only made her come up with her own version of it.
CoMMember13627405542584 CoMMember13627405542584 4 years
Yeah, my 3.5 year old is already getting a mouth on her. Suddenly she's telling me to calm down and leave her alone. I can't wait to go through this again in 10-12 years.
ShelehiaMeisner ShelehiaMeisner 4 years
My 13 year old daughter goes in times she is sweet and loving and wants to just hang out with me but that all goes away as soon as she is told to do something. Homework for instance is always an issue. She gets so angry when she tells me it is done and I ask to see it. I know this is because its actually not done and she hates being called on it, (which is why I do it) but doesnt make it any less frustrating. She will take ALL DAY to fold her laundry and get it to her room, making a point that it is being done on HER time schedule not mine. I try to pick and choose my battles with her because I feel if I don't and I try to fight them all I am just going to spend my life fighting with her and drive her away but its hard sometimes to know which battles to fight and the concequenses for letting the others go. School work is the one I hold firm on, after that its her attitude and behavior toward siblings, (she tends to think she rules the roost and they have to do as she says) but they are all neverending and exhausting!
Sami_23 Sami_23 4 years
O.K...My 13 year old girl already does her own laundry but she has so much clothes that she can go months without doing a single load. I have tried to comunicate with her asking how we can make her life easier for her and us and her only response we get is "I don't know mom" or "nothing dad"... any time we try to talk to her she throws a tantrum so i can see the toddler thing at play there. My daughter is recovered from a eating disorder already at 13 and she is always finding new ways to mutilate her body and when we ask why she has done this or that she says it wasnt to hurt herself or it was a dare from school. I have had it up to my ears with this behavior and need some advise on how to make my daughter respect herself and her parents????
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