Help, my tween has an attitude problem!
Tween attitude is no joke.
We’ve all been there. You’re all having fun and out of nowhere, bam she turns into something out of The Exorcist. You don’t know what happened. You wonder what you did.
Is it you? Is it her hair? Is her phone glitching? What in the actual f*ck just happened?
If you’ve got a tween, you’ve seen tween attitude.
If you’re not there yet and you still have a sweet little thing. Well hold on and love every minute, cuz it’s coming.
The closer we get to the teen years, she’s nearly 12, the worse the attitude problem is getting. And let me tell you no one is immune. It leaves people running for cover. Holy s*it it’s like the world is ending.
What’s going on? How can you help get her and everyone else out of this whirlwind?
Puberty… There’s an excellent chance that this is the culprit.
For girl books on puberty...check out this post or try this one on making a first-period survival kit.
Here’s one of our favorites.
Now it’s not just girls. Boys are having a hard time too. But the one difference is that boys will go through puberty and mood swings with all the body changes and it’s just as real and can be just as intense. The boys, however, will weather it and come out on the other side.
For girls, they will need to learn to understand it, learn from it and find ways to deal with it because it will continue for them for the next 40 or so years.
While we can’t change the fact that this is happening. As much as we want them to stay small and move out already, all in the same moment sometimes, LOL.
With that being said, all of these tips will help both boys and girls throughout their tween and teen years. In fact, I know they help improve my attitude too.
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Is your tween getting enough sleep?
Did you know tweens should still be getting 9-11 hours of sleep every night? Even teens should still be getting 8-10.
Lack of sleep is usually a huge factor.
Most aren’t getting anywhere near that. With afterschool activities eating further and further into our evenings. Homework, social media, internet, video games and tv. Kids are freakin’ tired.
I know when I don’t sleep enough, I am cranky, foggy and dizzy. That doesn’t help them in school, in sports or in interacting with other people.
So what can you do?
Set a time for lights out. If your tween needs to be up at 7 to be ready for school, then it’s lights out at 9 if you’re shooting for 10 hours. Not unreasonable for an early tween. It gets so much harder when it’s still light out and your tween needs closer to 11 hours and you still do evening sports.
But it can work. If you’re committed to finding what is contributing to the attitude.
Maybe most nights you continue with an early bedtime and on activity/sports nights it’s moved a bit later.
I know how it is. They end up needing a shower. They need a snack. I know, I have three kids. It can be a pain in the ass. We did baseball last fall and half the time we weren’t even getting home until after 8. You either eat dinner at 3:30 or at 9.
If you have a system for those nights to have them in bed as quick as possible it helps. Try some different things and see what works for your family.
Can they do their nightly reading in the car on the way home? Maybe that’s when they squeeze in a snack.
Maybe it’s a different morning routine to let them sleep a bit longer. Only you know what you can make work.
Maybe they don’t have to participate in a sport or activity at that time of day. Read more on that later in this post.
I’m all for sports and other activities, but do you know how many parents I talk to who sound more like they’re the ones that want their kids to participate? The kids don’t even want to be there.
Now that’s not everybody but what are your options?
Could you do something else at a different time?
This spring my son is playing flag football. Games are only on Sunday for 1 hour with a 1-hour practice right before the game. And it’s always in the same place. No conflicts with homework or dinner. No traveling to different cities. It’s great.
And when you do get home, or on evenings when you stay in. The screens are everywhere.
In our family, I’m not good about being the “screen police” but we found more screen time = more fighting EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.
Everyone has their own opinion on screen time. That’s a personal family choice. But when it interferes with sleep the answer is easy. The amount and the content are up to you. But if you at least make a time of night that it stops, preferably at least an hour before bed, and that it stays off until morning, at least they will be getting a proper night’s sleep.
Are they having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep? Try a diffuser. We have this one. It has made a tremendous difference in our house since my daughter has always had trouble sleeping. You can read that story here. Maybe a white noise machine is the answer?
Are they getting enough physical activity?
The sports they’re in can make or break their attitude. I think all kids need some type of physical activity. Many schools are cutting out recess at this age.
Aside from the obvious physical benefits, the mental benefits are crucial. Physical activity releases chemicals in the brain called endorphins. Endorphins reduce stress and enhance the immune system. Stress-related issues in the tween and teen set are on the rise.
Kids who develop a habit of physical activity and remain active throughout their life will also benefit from the fact that endorphins relieve pain and delay the aging process.
What kind of physical activity do they get.? Is it the right kind for them? Too fast? Too slow?
Team sports and individual sports can be night and day.
I know I hated team sports. I wasn’t good at them and it made it very intimidating for me. But when I found tennis, I was in instantly in love. No one depended on me. I was more in control. And I was good at it, well eventually, LOL. For someone who was a skinny little kid who was horrible at sports to have a sport to excel at was a huge boost to my self-esteem. I began at 10 and played all through high school.
My daughter just started horseback riding. Her confidence is off the charts now that she has something that’s just for her. Not having other kids involved can sometimes be good, especially if they’ve been picked on.
Swimming, golf, running, dance, gymnastics, cheerleading or martial arts are some other good choices. It doesn’t even have to be competitive. It could be just for the exercise, though I do think competitive sports are good for kids.
Maybe they’re still part of a team and the points from each individual add to the team totals, but the kid can focus on their developing their own skills a bit differently.
For kids who don’t like sports, any activity that gets them moving will benefit them. A walk with a family member, the dog or a friend is better than nothing. And often better than anything else since it can offer a way to have 1-on-1 time and talk or just be.
What if they don’t want to join anything? Or they were participating and now suddenly they don’t?
This might take some investigating? They may not want to answer or be able to tell you why. Sometimes it takes time to figure out. Ideas on this below. But I know that we’ve had each one of our kids experience this for different reasons. Sometimes we knew why and some we still don’t. We just had them finish their commitment since it didn’t seem to be anything unsafe.
Though I will have to say, we did pull my daughter out of one activity without finding out why because it was so upsetting for her to go. She insisted she just didn’t like it anymore, but would cry if we tried to encourage her to continue. It took her two years after quitting and contact with the person long over to find out that she was being bullied. It just popped up in a random conversation two years later.
If that’s a possibility, you want to read this book for girls and this one if you have boys.
Queen Bees and Wannabes, 3rd Edition: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boys, and the New Realities of Girl WorldMasterminds and Wingmen: Helping Our Boys Cope with Schoolyard Power, Locker-Room Tests, Girlfriends, and the New Rules of Boy World