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“You can count on me!”
When your tween makes a commitment and keeps it, people learn they can depend on him. Help him be more reliable with these tips.
Be sure it’s possible. Before your child agrees to something, like helping a friend rehearse for a play, he should think realistically about whether he can follow through. If he’s not sure, it’s better to say no than to let his friend down.
Make commitments a priority. Promises take priority over opportunities that crop up later. If your teen said he’d wash your car on Saturday afternoon, then gets invited to play basketball, he’ll need to finish the car before his game.
Understanding your ever-changing tween
The “in-between” years, when your child is no longer a little kid but not quite a teenager, can be challenging for you and your middle schooler. Try these strategies for navigating them.
Don’t take it personally. Your tween is going through big physical and emotional changes, and he’s facing different social situations. That’s a hormone-fueled recipe for unpredictable behavior. So try not to overreact if he rolls his eyes when you ask if he wants to work on a puzzle with you. Instead, just start on the puzzle yourself. He may change his mind later. Tip: Let him know you’re there to answer questions about changes he’s going through.
Give him space. After years of bedtime snuggles and chats, your child’s closed bedroom door and whispered chats with friends can be upsetting. But testing his independence is a natural part of growing up. Try knocking on his door. Some days, he’ll want to talk! Tip: Stand firm on rules about health and safety. But aim to give him more freedom about things like fashion and friendships.
Parent To Parent
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Eggs-periment: Sink or swim?
Why is it easier to float in the salty ocean than in a swimming pool? It’s all about density, or how tightly molecules are packed together. Share this eggs-cellent experiment with your tween.
Steps: Have your child measure 16 oz. water into a bowl and gently drop in a fresh egg. What happens? (It sinks.) Then, she should measure 16 oz. water into another bowl, add 1–4 cup salt, and stir until completely dissolved. What happens when she drops an egg into that water? (It floats.)
The science: The egg sinks because its density is greater than that of plain water. Adding salt to the water increases the water’s density. Since the water’s density is now greater than the egg’s density, the egg will float!
Extension: Have your tween experiment with the salt-to-water ratio. What’s the minimum amount of salt needed for the egg to float? She could also try foods of different densities (apple, potato).
Q and A
Ease into social media
Q My daughter is old enough now to sign up for social media accounts. Should I let her?
A Children mature at different rates, so start by thinking about your child’s offline behavior. Does she follow rules you’ve set for her? Is she considerate of others’ feelings?
Ask your daughter which sites she’s interested in using. Explore them together, and discuss dangers like cyberbullying. Also talk about ways to avoid problems, such as using the “Would I want Grandma to see this?” rule before posting anything.
If you let your tween open an account, help her adjust privacy settings. Then, create rules. She might have to “friend” you, only interact with family and certain friends, and limit her time on social media. Finally, keep checking in to ask how things are going. Making social media part of your everyday conversations can encourage her to come to you for guidance.
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