When your children hit their tween years, it can be hard to pull them away from the TV, telephone and video games. Ginny Bishop, mother of six and author of Tween Time: Over 52 Ways to Celebrate Life with Kids Ages 8–12
, says even though your children may be growing up, tweens still need to stay very closely connected to their parents.
Ginny talks with Holly and Rodney about the challenges of raising tweens and offers suggestions to help parents continue building strong relationships with their children:
- Start a mother/son outdoor adventure club: Meet up with other mothers and sons every month with the goal of getting outside and playing football, soccer or other group activities. "The boys kill us and they love that they are better than we are and we laugh," Ginny says."It's just making yourself vulnerable—[be] vulnerable with your son [and] have a blast."
- Create father/daughter secret pen pal relationships: Fathers can type up anonymous letters and send them to their daughters from different zip codes. Eventually your daughter will figure out it's her dad who is the secret pen pal and will likely open up to him through the secret letters, Ginny says. "[Fathers] really need to find that connection and they need to be able to get that line of communication open," she says.
- Don't make promises to your children: "It's very rare that I use that word 'promise,'" Ginny says. "The word 'promise' is sacred [to children] and when you say that you need to be able to follow through."
- Make sure your children know they're loved: Instead of telling your children only before a test or soccer game that you love them, say those three words all the time, Ginny says. "Try to [point out] really simple things [they] did and say, 'I just love you for that,'" she says.
- Get your kids involved in the community: Help your children brainstorm ideas that can help people in their town and around the world, Ginny says. "I think they remember those projects and they remember that they made a difference in someone else's life," she says.
- Talk with your children at bedtime: "[Bedtime] is the most powerful time of the day," Ginny says. "You are going to hear that one little kernel of truth, one little challenge and one little triumph from that child. If you are not there … you are going to miss out on an opportunity."