Growing up can be just as hard on the parents as it can on the child. Watching your child grow out of favorite childhood toys and traditions can be heartbreaking for many moms and dads, but just because your child is getting older doesn't mean that you can't still have a close relationship. If you're unsure about how your relationship with your tween will change in the years ahead, keep in mind that there are many different ways to stay close to your child and to love the teen and the young adult your child is becoming.
How to Stay Close to Your Growing Tween
Make Time for Each Other: Raising children demands a real ability to juggle all the time. School schedules, work schedules, homework, after school activities, and other commitments can make it hard for parents and children to spend any real meaningful time together. Family dinners may become just memories as practice schedules and piano lessons take over what was once family time. But it is so important to make sure that you leave time on your schedule (and your tween's) for family time. Time together doesn't have to translate into expensive vacations or other costly events, in fact some of the best ideas might not even cost you a cent. Be sure you and your tween make time for each other every week, either by watching a movie together, taking a walk or even going grocery shopping together.
Know Your Child's Friends: Your child's friends are becoming more and more important to your tween each and every day. Be sure you take the time to learn more about your child's friends and to even spend time with them when possible. Knowing your child's peers will help you learn more about your child and his interests. Consider inviting your child's friends over occasionally for dinner, a sleepover or even to go on a vacation with you and your tween.
Take an Interest in Your Child's Passions: Your child is still learning about himself, and that might mean rotating interests as he struggles to find out his talents and abilities. He may be into guitar one month, and film making the next. Be supportive until your tween finds his match. Try to make time to learn a little about your child's hobby or personal projects and think of ways you can share them together.
Talk About the Future: It can be a lot of fun to talk about the future so be sure you and your tween discuss future plans, dreams and goals together. You can even plan a future vacation or dream vacation -- just be sure your child knows that his dreams matter to you and that your future will always include him, no matter how old he gets.
Give Your Child Space, but not Too Much: Your tween is developing his independence, and that's a good thing and completely normal. While your child may need a little space from you in order to figure things out or develop new skills, it's still important that your tween also know that you're still there to advise, teach and lead the way. Give your tween the space he needs to grow, but be there should he decide he still needs a little support and encouragement -- as only a parent can give.