Tweens want to explore their independence, but they still need a lot of guidance. “Providing them with set rules and boundaries will allow them the freedom to explore who they are, who they want to be, and the things that matter to them, while staying away from dangerous situations that they may still be too young to handle or process on their own,” says child psychologist Eena de la Rosa.
Before laying down the rules for your tween, make sure you and your husband agree on the non-negotiables (for example, no going to bars or billiard halls, no out-of-town trips) and the reasons behind them. “Tweens will always test their boundaries,” says de la Rosa. “While they may sulk or question your decisions and authority, if you stay firm on certain rules, they will follow and you will earn more of their respect than if you keep on budging.” At the same time, it is also important to establish which rules are open to discussion. “While being consistent is important, communicating and being flexible are too,” she adds.
Giving your kids the “whys” behind your rules is likewise important. “This is so that they realize that your rules are not just meant to ‘curtail’ their freedom but because you are looking out for their best interests,” says de la Rosa. Here are a few guidelines for setting rules for your tweens:
(First published as “Gimik Rules for Tweens" in the "Good Family" section of Good Housekeeping Philippines' September 2011 issue. Adapted for use in Female Network. Photo by AdWriter via Flickr Creative Commons.)