Parenting Win of the Week: Transitions
When your kids graduate from childhood to the tweenage years, everything changes.
"Bigger kids, bigger problems," they often say. I would disagree. "Bigger kids, different problems." When you are knee deep in it at any stage from newborn to teen, things can feel really hard.
I am about to mark a major parenting milestone. Soon, I will have been a parent for a decade! Saying that out loud makes me feel really strange and old. As I try not to get too far ahead of myself, I do know that my oldest is soon going to transition from kid to tween and that, honestly, kind of freaks me out. What happened to the days of baby rolls and strollers?
So, to try and understand how to best support our kids during any of these transition periods, I spoke with Dr. Rachna Buxani-Mirpuri, a licensed mental health counselor, who is also a mom herself.
Here is some of the sage advice she offered. I know I will definitely keep this in mind.
Mutual Respect and Trust
Kids who are growing and changing really need an environment where they feel supported. "It’s definitely a fine balance between holding on and letting them have independence," she says. It’s about respecting and knowing that they need independence and will make mistakes, but that they can trust that they’ll always be able to come back to you to work through these things.
Open Lines of Communication
Keep those kids talking. You want to set up an environment where your kids feel comfortable talking to you about anything. "That’s not to say you want to be their best friend; you want to be the parent," says Dr. Buxani.
When you set rules and consequences you want to make sure the "why" makes sense. "Parents often go to taking away screens or phones, but you want to make sure that the consequence is related to the action," she says.
And make sure that what you are taking a stand on aligns to your values. "If your kids see that something is important to you, they’ll be more likely to follow," says Dr. Buxami.
You’ll also want to make sure to follow through on whatever consequence you set. That goes back to the trust factor. And believe it or not, kids actually appreciate rules and structure.
You don’t want your kids on the phone all of the time? Then watch your own phone habits. Kids are always watching us and if we aren’t modeling that behavior, why should they follow what we say and not what we do? "Don’t act preoccupied around your kids if you don’t want them to do the same," she says.