Your kids aren't teenagers yet, but sometimes they sure act like them! That's because they've entered the tween limbo between childhood and adolescence -- a rocky transitional period for many a young person. Find out how much you know about the tween demographic by taking this quiz.
When do the tween years begin and end?
Different sources vary -- and of course quite a bit of it depends on the kid in question -- but generally, you can expect the tween years to begin around the time your children are 8, and end by the time they're 12.
What's a hallmark feature of the tween years?
Tweens want to make their own decisions -- be it what they wear, who they play with, what lessons they take -- and often they no longer look to you for input. Friends' opinions will slowly start to edge yours out. Those might be hard pills to swallow, but it's the natural course of childhood development.
How much sleep do tweens need?
Tweens still need a good amount of sleep, often between 9 to 10 hours, but sometimes as much as 11.
Does your tween need a curfew?
Tweens, even on the older end, definitely need a curfew! Stay firm on this one -- tweens are still kids, after all.
Your tween is on the phone and the computer an awful lot. Is a little eavesdropping and snooping around OK?
This is an important era for establishing trust, so it's a bad idea to go behind your tween's virtual back. That being said, you should still know what your tween is doing electronically. So set up some ground rules like password sharing and account monitoring so you can stay in the loop, and intervene if anything untoward occurs.
Your tween wants to dump karate and Boy Scouts and start playing football and taking guitar lessons. Should you let him?
Tweens often decide they want to try new activities as they develop into teenagers, and that's a good thing. It helps them find themselves as independent, invested people. But it can also be good to suggest they retain one or two of their old interests so they still have a connection to their childhood, even if only temporarily.
What's a good time to have "the talk" with your tweens?
Your tweens will probably surprise you with how much they already know about sex when you finally work up the courage to discuss it, but they still need to hear stuff from you. You can provide information on the details, the downsides and the dangers of sex. It's better to have this conversation sooner, rather than later (both 12 and even 10 is pushing it) and one way to ease into the conversation is by casually bringing the subject up during a movie's love scene or when you see two people kissing each other at the park. It helps to have your first few lines ready.
And then that's it, right? After one discussion, "the talk" is taken care of?
Both boys and girls need ongoing parental counseling when it comes to tough issues like sex, drugs, violence and bullying. You need to reinforce your messages over time, and be someone they can come to if they have problems in the future.
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