Don't Take Preteen Attitude Personally
He insists he can do just fine without your two cents. She deems you an embarrassment that's ruining her life. Why shouldn't you take it personally?
What You Need to Know
Here's a secret: your influence is still the most powerful available to your child. (Well, it's no secret to you, but there's no reason your child has to know.) The key: practice what you preach—only without the preaching. Setting a strong example is eons more effective than giving instructional advice at this stage in your child's life.
How You Can Help
The increasing attitude your child is giving you is only a byproduct of a common quest for independence. You can take advantage of these opportunities to help him find his way:
- Model the qualities you want your preteen to mimic – respectful communication, kindness, healthy eating, fulfilling responsibilities without complaint, bouncing back from disappointments – and your child is much more likely to comply without a word of nagging from you.
- Make room in your schedule for special times and take advantage of routines you already share as chances to show your child how much you care.
- Family meals provide valuable quality time, even if you settle for something pre-made. Schedule it, organize it, and commit to it, just as you would any other activity.
- Bedtime. Your child' too old to be tucked in, but winding down with a conversation about the day passed or ahead can still be soothing before lights out. End each night by sharing a new reason you love your child.
- Ordinary time. Walking the dog, washing the car, or watching a favorite show all present tiny opportunities for enjoying one another's company and connecting long enough to discuss what's on your child's mind. Car ride chats can ease your child's discomfort about opening up since keeping your eyes on the road eliminates eye contact.
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