Parenting Tweens: Stresses and Fears

GG & BB turn twelve this year and they have already started behaving like teens. They are growing so fast, both physically and mentally, it’s a challenge to keep up with them. BB has reached approximately 1.7 meters and GG is around 1.6 meters in height, GG wears a shoe size slightly smaller than me and BB has surpassed my shoe size! They have started looking more adult than children, where did my babies go?

With social media at their fingertips and knowledge a Google or Wikipedia page away, the breath of things these tweens know is precocious! They know far too much about things that they probably should not know, yet in the next breath, they are innocent babies! What contradictions they are….

This year, along with becoming twelve, they are having the most stressful year of their life till date. Nothing they have done till now has prepared them for the stress that is the Primary School Leaving Exam (PSLE)

One thing as parent I do know is that while they are not to be treated as babies, but as someone with a brain, at the end of the day, we are still their parents and know more about life and them than they do and the decisions we make with them for their future has been well thought out and is for their benefit. They are after-all still children and not yet grown-up adults. This is perhaps the Indian parent in me who comes to the fore in times like this, but I think I would know my child best.

This time of transition – from coddled and pampered children to young adults who need to start taking some responsibility for their lives – is a magical time for both children and parents, but only if we parent them right! As parents we can make our homes a safe haven for them as well as encourage them to speak to us about anything they want to without judging them. Listen to them, then give your two cents worth. If you have a good relationship with your children, I am sure they will listen to you and take heed of what you have to say.

Another thing I am very worried about is the dangers around us, especially that of sexual predators. This is especially since from next year, depending the school they go to, GG & BB will have to use public transport and travel a bit to get to school. I have started talking to them about people who like to prey on young children, but I am not sure if they have understood all the implications yet.

Speaking of which, this is also the age when children start getting curious about the opposite sex and may want to experiment. GG is a typical girl and a typical tween/teen, in that she’s in the extremely giggly stage and wants to watch and read about romance. I’ve told both of them that if they want to have a boyfriend/girlfriend, they should wait till they get to university when they can think this through, but I doubt, if the time comes, they will listen to me. Hormones will probably rule them at that time and all my advice will fly through the window! Hopefully, at that point, we will have a relationship where they still confide in me, we can always hope! BB at this point, is anti-girls, which should change anytime soon when his hormones kick in, though I’ll be happy for the hormones to wait another six months so we get through PSLE with minimum of fuss, I have my hands full with GG as it is, two full blown teens in the house is too much for anyone I’d guess!

Another thing that is often gets pushed down in the scale of priorities is adequate rest. For children between 7- 12 years, they need between 10-11 hours of sleep daily while for those between 12 to 18, this reduces to 8 – 9 hours per day. I’d say for someone in BB & GG’s age, they’d probably need around 9 – 10 hours of sleep daily. Sleep helps them battle stress in school as well as allow their growing bodies to get the growth it needs during sleep.

I now need to walk the talk as we countdown to the PSLE. As of today there are 58 days to the Oral Exams and 14 weeks to the written exams – panic mode on!!


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