Let me start by saying I did NOT adequately consider the ramifications of having a tweenaged child while I was peri-menopausal. Did not consider it at all.
Math is hard.
In a few years my son will be 14 and I will be 50. Maybe things will be better, but hormones run our moods and lives, so maybe not. Deep breath.
Parenting is hard.
I’ve been meaning to follow up on this post with resources for raising tweens with some gender-specific suggestions because, like it or not, our kids have been the recipients of gender-targeted and gender-biased ideas and marketing since they arrived.
And also because your children may want some information about how their particular body will grow and change during adolescence. Plus the politics of sex and sexuality. Resources for transgender and gender non-conforming youth also offered.
Boys receive messages from early on that they need to be tough, hide their feelings (except for anger!), and keep physical/emotional distance from others (“no homo”—look it up). Homophobia isn’t the only issue either. Top pick resources for parents of boys:
Girls receive messages from early on that they should take care of others (to the detriment of their own well-being). They are often taught to acquiesce to other’s desires and make compromises to keep the peace—with both male and female peers. It can get pretty complicated. Some of my favorite resources for parents of girls:
Trans & Non-Binary
Transgender and gender non-conforming tweens and teens are uniquely positioned to teach everyone in our culture a thing or two. I hope they are well-supported, and that we are listening. As it is not my area of expertise, I did some research to find these reputable resources for trans and gender non-conforming kids:
Have you encountered a resource for raising a tweenager that isn’t listed here? Please share it in the comments below. We need all the help we can get.
Sarah MacLaughlin is author of the award-winning book, What Not to Say: Tools for Talking with Young Children and has been featured inThe Huffington Post. She brings over 25 years of experience working with children and families to her coaching practice. Sarah is also mom to a 10-year-old who gives her plenty of opportunities to take her own advice. She works with families one on one, in groups, and online.