Pre teens, give them wings, not clip them off!
A pre-teen is a child who is 11 or 12 years old – two years to go before he becomes a teenager. Parents would have watched him change over the years – FROM a child who cannot be separated from his mother , doing all that she tells him to without a whimper , simply slipping into any suit laid out for him , sitting tight before his books , least interested in anything but a few toys that instantly light up his eyes and satisfy him for an eternity , TO , a child who stands for hours under the shower before being dragged out, who has questions regarding puberty and the opposite sex , who insists that keeping T-shirt buttons open is ”cool “and has hardly any time to spare for studying what with Facebook , Gmail , IPOD , PSP , PS3 , phone calls , parties , WWF TV shows taking up most of his time.
Where has that little innocent child gone??? In his place there is a kid who refuses to eat ANYTHING that mothers cook. Now he prefers to eat what his friend’s mother cooks or some junk food and any answer to his question “What have you made for dinner today?” begets the reply “Yuck! I can’t stand that dish of yours. Dad can we eat out?” What happens when parents go out to parties is best not mentioned. Suffice to say that they are always given accusing looks that say “Have you fed your son at all?!”
Parents may notice that suddenly the appetite of their boys has grown enormously and feeding them is akin to feeding elephants. Nothing fills their bottomless pits!! You would have just watched your little one eat like he has not eaten for ten years and a few minutes later find that he is again wandering in the kitchen looking for stuff to eat!
The changes don’t stop at just eating, they go on to clothes and make up too. Eleventeens and tweens have reached a stage wherein they prefer to make their own choices even where clothes are concerned. While parents could have easily dressed them in suitable smart shorts and tees…..now they choose to wear very serious clothes, and be less conspicuous, preferably “dirty looking” to looking neat and well turned out. This is the intermediate stage before they stand for hours before a mirror checking themselves out from every angle.
Parents find there are more changes as they reach puberty and watch their boys paying greater attention to their private parts and opening web pages that may not be very appropriate. It’s necessary for parents to watch what the kids watch all the time!
Inspite of all these changes they are vulnerable, still “cuddleable” and don’t think twice about plonking themselves on parent’s laps. They still listen to their parents but with the doubt if their parents are all that knowledgeable as they once appeared to be! Now they would like to be walked to school provided the parent keeps a safe distance of two feet behind if walking with kids of the same gender and 10 feet behind if walking with a student of the opposite sex. While in pre-teens they still talk to parents and tell them everything. This, if encouraged will be retained to some extent even after they reach full blown teens when talking to parents can be SUCH a bore.
One day they want to be as famous as Justin Bieber is – maybe go his way. The next day just being a fisherman will suffice and maybe a few days later after parents start looking quite desperate they may condescend to consider becoming good engineers. Their minds flit from one career goal to another. In the vast world of opportunities that lies before them, they start thinking and forming ideas of what they intend to be in future.
Parents may also notice that one small setback completely destroys their self esteem. Keeping their confidence levels up and continually talking to them about their strengths can prevent the process of acute despondency from setting in.
They have ideas and want their views to be considered and taken seriously. They like their hands to be shaken as with other adults and given equal importance as other adults are given. They like being asked their advice on matters and turn very sensitive. Preteens are struggling between being babies and small adults and are a slightly confused lot.
These young boys are metamorphosing into young men. They are watching adults and learning to be like them. They are about to fly and take their plunge in the world. We should encourage them to develop, form and value their opinions. This is an age when they will be slowly creating an image of themselves and must develop a positive one. They should be encouraged to think and act independently as this will make them more confident and secure. They will be able to take decisions and stand by them. Everything that they do at this age is to gain respect in the eyes of parents and adults. One must be very careful while criticizing them. At the same time they must be told very convincingly and gently what their negative points or faults are so that they do not develop a bloated opinion of themselves. As parents we just need to take a step back and support them, guide them carefully if they falter, steer them away gently if they take the wrong path and lead them on to teenage-then adulthood. They will then have a very eventful and secure life.
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