Parenting Your Children/Tweens





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Parenting changes as your children grow, especially as they transition into elementary or secondary school. As kids age, their problem solving skills are increasing, and parents need to adjust to changing environments. Parenting a school aged child is a new kind of parenting.

A new kind of parenting: Raising kids 10 to 16 - video resources (external link)

Dr. Jean Clinton is an internationally known child and youth expert who uses common sense and plain language to helps parents. She offers practical advice on new ways to nurture and maintain positive, supportive relationships with their children as they become teenagers.

Dealing with behaviour problems is one of the most challenging aspects of parenting.
Remember some misbehaviour is normal and some discipline problems are inevitable.

Tweens and teens:

  • Challenge their parents
  • Want more independence
  • Value their peer group

This is normal. However, it creates new challenge for parents.


Let's reflect: there are different types of parenting styles:

What type of parent are you? Brick wall? Jelly Fish? Backbone?

Discipline strategies work better when parents provide a loving and caring environment. When parents are predictable and kids receive plenty of praise and encouragement when they behave well.

Here are strategies to encourage positive behaviour

Develop a positive relationship:

  • Spend quality time together.
    • Be flexible: your Friday night games night might now become Sunday brunch family time.
  • Talk to your children.
    • Ask your tweens opinion when making decisions.
  • Show affection.
    • Older children still need affection the timing just needs to be right i.e. in private versus public. Simple “I love you” everyday is a great way to show affection.

Encourage desirable behaviour:

  • Use description praise.
    • Be specific when describing the behaviour that is appreciated. (e.g., Thank you for taking the dog for a walk.)
  • Give attention.
    • This attention can be nonverbal such as a wink or a pat on the back… or simply watching your child.
  • Provide engaging activities.
    • Older children still require engaging activities; actively involve them in the planning.

Remember

  • Every parent has their own approach.
  • Every child is different.
  • Strategies that work for one child may not work for another.

Discipline

Discipline for kids must involve clear, fair, age- appropriate rules and consequences that are carried out in a predictable family environment. It is no good changing tactics one day because you don’t feel up to the challenge.

When teaching your child a new skill, remember:

  • Set a good example:
    Demonstrate desirable behaviour. Our kids watch us… how we talk, the tone and body language we use.
  • Teach in the moment: Use questions and prompts to respond to your child’s questions, this will help promote learning.
  • Use praise for cooperation and success.

When managing challenging behaviours, remember:

  • Establish clear ground rules. Discuss with your child the ground rules; try to make only a few of them.
  • Stay calm, and be clear about instructions.
  • Use discussion for rule breaking; sometimes kids need gentle reminders of the rules.
  • Also use logical consequences if discussion is not working.
  • Hold follow up discussions together. Share what is working and what is not, this will also allow for more independence as your child ages.

Don't forget to get support if needed and to manage your own stress.

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