Lately I have come across a few articles on how to talk to your kids while they are toddlers or preschoolers so when they arrive at ¨that¨ age (tween/teens) they talk to you, or better yet... listen to you. And guess what, as interesting as these articles are, and as many times as I have read articles like these, nothing prepared me for teenage years.
I have two tweens at home and we all have Ari, our toddler! Raising my girls while they were little was really a piece of cake.. hard work? well yes, but hard work the of the type that just gets you physically tired but not emotional exhausted....
When your children are little you just have to get them through life and teach them fundamental values and pretty basic things to ¨survive¨... we teach them how to ask for things, how to say please and thank you, brush your teeth, go to bed.. eat your vegetables... we also help them make sense of who they are in relationship to others, and how to interact with people around them... we even teach them to smile when they say hello... But then, all of a sudden comes life and changes everything... and your baby is not a baby anymore, she is ten or twelve and no matter how many books you have read, how many parenting classes you have attended, once again you feel like you are in in a whole new world... like a brand new mama.
And then suddenly you are speechless.... You doubt yourself, and start over-thinking how to approach things with them.... it doesn´t matter how many books you have read, nothing prepares you for this. At least... nothing prepared me. Ale has always been very strong-willed, we even called her Jack Bauer (the actor form 24) since she wouldn´t break ever.... when she said NO, that was a NO, one of the happiest girls I´ve known, but strong willed. Emi has always been much on the lighter side, maybe sweeter, and more attentive to other people´s feelings, easier child I would say.
So up to now for me it has been more on understanding personalities than following a guideline for speaking to your tween. For example, with Emi, and maybe because she is only ten, we still have a very open and straight forward conversation. We can speak about anything and she welcomes me in every aspect of her life always valuing what I have to say. With Ale is a complete different story. At this point in time, what has worked for me is doing a little research with other friends and moms (AKA spying!!!) and talking to her as if it had nothing to do with her. I make up stories about imaginary teenagers, and talk about topics that I know she is going through, but if I try just ¨interviewing¨ her I will not find a very receptive Ale!. That has been the best way that I have found that allows me to really say my word in a way that I know she is listening without feeling judged or analyzed. And some days... I just feel happy and satisfied by just watching TV at night with them, no talking needed, just plain hugs and kisses.
At the end, all I want for them is to one day live with the confidence and independence to make it on their own, the conscience and compassion to do right by others and not be indifferent to other people´s sufferings, the strength and the courage to be humble, and to trust me and their home as their safe haven today and always. But first we need to get trough these teen years, through the eye rolling, the arguing, the back talking... because at the end I know that right now they are figuring out who they are in this big scary world... and I have to trust myself that maybe am teaching more by example than by words!
So the one advice that I could give you is to follow your heart, teach by example and simply LOVE your children! All you need is LOVE!
Hi! my name is Carolina Perisse de Rico, I am a stay at home architect with the biggest project ever... my girls! The oldest is 16, then I have an 14 year old, and my miracle baby who is 6. Glad you are here, hope you stay a while!
Am now a member of Communal Global!!!