Has your tween ever melted down over something completely ridiculous, such as somebody ate the last banana that she wanted for breakfast?
If so, you are not alone in your exasperation!
Tweens overreact to situations that seem minor to us because of the development changes their brains are going through. Managing their own emotions literally feels impossible so this is a time where they especially need our grown-up guidance.
Here are the top 3 positive parenting strategies to help you stay sane when you have a tween at home:
- Keep your cool.
The tween brain gets hot and bothered over minor situation. That’s just how it goes. When you stay calm instead of matching fire with fire it signals that your tween isn’t in a life and death situation, which helps their stress move through them more quickly so everyone can get back to normal.
- Ignore the attitude.
The emotional center of a tween brain can’t help but react intensely and lash out, blaming others for their “problem.” This is not the time to lecture on it being “not a big deal.” To your tween this is a big deal, so focus instead on the fact that they feel really upset and use emotional communication. Try, “I can see that you feel really upset,” then stop talking so they can process the big emotion instead of being overwhelmed by it.
- Give them a sense of control.
Tweens “lose it” because their emotional center is hijacked by hormones and doesn’t feel in control. In fact, most tweens think they’ll always feel this crazy and get carried away by the doom-and-gloom of it all. GENTLY help them to feel the situation is solvable. Try wondering out loud, say, “Hmm, not having bananas left is really upsetting. I wonder if we should make a grocery list or find a different breakfast food. What seems best to you?”
Remember! Tweens’ stormy moods are normal. How you respond can make the difference between it blowing through quickly or turning into a hurricane that spins out of control.
Similar to a preschooler who needs to learn how to share toys, tweens need to learn how to share their feelings and space with others. Your behavior speaks louder than words so SHOW them how to behave by maintaining your own sense of control.
Now, I’d love to hear from you. What minor situation did your tween recently overreact to and how did you respond?
As always, when you share in the comments below it grows our community of support and we love reading them!