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By Karabo Motsiri Mokoena

Writer. Conversationalist. South African Mommy Blogger,Content Producer

How to deal with your child transitioning from tween to teen

Helping your kids navigate this transition can be difficult, but it is necessary.

If your child is between the ages of eight and 12 they are referred to as a tween. This is the preadolescent stage, right before they enter the fascinating stage of adolescence.

The stage of adolescence is between the ages of 13 to 19 years old.

This transition is not an easy one for our children. Kids deal with physical changes and emotional disruptions in both girls and boys.

Girls will start their menstrual cycle as they transition. Your son’s voice will start changing, they will start getting a beard and their emotions can also be uncontrollable. According to Dr Meg Meeker, boys are also prone to emotions. They can cry when they feel emotional, or get highly upset if things do not go their way.

The key to helping your children navigate this transition is communication. A little heads-up will go a long way.

You do not want your son waking up one day with a different voice and having no idea what is happening. Worse, you don’t want your daughter starting her period unaware of what it is and what she should do.

Talking to your children about the changes they will go through will not only make them ready but will make it possible for them to come to you when it happens.

Girls become very self-conscious when their breasts start developing, particularly because they enter puberty before boys.

What parents need to affirm for both girls and boys is that the changes they are going through are normal, even if they don’t feel like it.

One of the biggest changes they will go through is a need to affirm their independence. They will push back a lot more when you try to enforce the rules, says Dr Meeker. They want to push out the curfew, wear and eat what they please. They will also start dating and go against your recommendations. Just remember that this is a passing phase and they will not always be this stubborn.

Both girls and boys will start separating from their parents. Boys will move away from their moms, and girls will starting acting quite cold around dad. The way mom and dad can help with this change is to not take things personally. They are simply trying to find themselves and their behaviour has nothing to do with you.

This is going to be a difficult time for the whole family. Open communication, guidance and understanding will go a long way in ensuring that the family stays intact as the teenage years surface.

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