A tween is a child between the ages of 9 and 12. A tween is no longer a little child, but not quite a teenager. While a tween is not yet in the midst of adolescence, he or she will face a variety of obstacles in the next few years including transitioning from elementary school to middle school, approaching puberty, increasing responsibilities, increasing amounts of homework, and exposure to dangerous behaviors by their peers including drugs, sex, and more. Tweens can be a challenge to parent. One minute they can be sweet and loving, the next they can be moody and difficult.
Tweens have an enormous spending power in the United States and are targeted by marketers for their money. It was the tween market that made Hannah Montana, the Jonas Brothers, and Harry Potter household names. Many parenting experts believe today's tweens are growing up too fast, and are exposed to unhealthy doses of violence, sex, drugs, and other behaviors through television, video games, online games, and books.
Dramatic physical, mental, and social changes take place during the tween years. Many tween girls experience their first period around the age of 12, and brain development at that age is also dramatic for both tween boys and girls. Socially, tweens are under pressure to fit in and it is during these middle school years that tweens are most likely to face bullies and other social challenges.