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Perspective on Parenting Your Tween
As mothers, we sometimes can tend to keep things from our children mainly to protect them, but I have learned if your child is capable and shows empathy and understanding, certain topics may be worth explaining when parenting your tween. My daughter Nyah is 12 years old and she has always been a kid who showed more maturity for her age. I sometimes forget that she is only 12, and because of that, my expectations don’t always match her age. As parents, my husband and I admire her ability to understand and perceive the world around her more deeply than others her age. When my dad passed away 10 years ago and she was only 2.5 years old, she handled death in such a touching way. She would tell me when she would see me cry, “Don’t worry mommy, DaDa (grandpa) is watching over us.”. Her awareness both shocked and consoled me at the same time. It was then I knew there was something really special about my girl. The crazy thing is that she reminds me exactly of how I was when I was younger. It’s a little trippy when you see a reflection of yourself in your kids! I love that she takes the world on head first and is so very courageous, but through this challenging year, I’ve realized the necessity for her to truly just be a kid. There’s no rush to grow up. I know for many of you like me, our children were old enough to have felt the motions of all the many world events and tragedies, especially this past year. As parents, we were charged with explaining a deadly virus, racial tension in our country, a political divide, and that same deadly virus come full circle hitting our homeland. This was no easy task parenting a tween, and we have continually been forced to bring the harsh realities of life in front of our kids, striving always to do it in a mindful way that will make sense to their young hearts. For us, specifically, when it came to Nyah, we chose not to sugarcoat it. We answered her questions and shared in a way that still made her feel safe and understood. In this phase of motherhood, I will admit that living and navigating with a t(w)eenager is not an easy task. I can now understand how difficult it must have been for my own mother to protect me from the world in that phase of my own youth. For me what helps is continually thinking about the fact that my role is to guide my children in the right direction and the importance of letting go. It’s understanding that I cannot protect my Nyah (or any of my children) entirely from this world when parenting a tween. It’s about setting boundaries but also meeting in the middle. It’s about embracing the fact that she will fall, she will fail, she will hurt. And yet it’s both my Nyah and me fully trusting that I will always do everything in my power to be there to help pick her up when she needs me.