How to Keep Talking to Your Tween

I love, love, love the fact that Rosalind Wiseman reminds us that we matter to our tweens!

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that when all they talk about is what their friends think — it seems that the only opinions that are those of their peers. I’m just starting down this road with my nine-year old daughter, who would jump at the chance for an outing with her besties (on most days) over some Q.T. with me. Ironically, this is the time when it’s probably most important for us to stay connected… because there are a lot more “stress-inducing moments” than ever before.

So we create opportunities to talk and stay connected but in a way that also respects their growing need to assert some independence. Tricky business, isn’t it? Thank goodness I got to be part of this conversation with Rosalind Wiseman and some other really wise moms about how to keep those lines of communication open. And thanks to Unilever and Bliss TV for pulling it all together for us.

Disclosure: this post sponsored by Bliss TV

How Not to “Sweat It!”

All you moms of tweens and teens will appreciate this: I had the chance to talk to Rosalind Wiseman, my Twitter friend and also author of Queen Bees and Wannabees. She visited with several moms about how they talk to their tweens about… (no, not about sex)… about sweat! Yup, that birds and bees conversation also includes the physical changes that come with puberty… increased hormones causing noticeable changes — like growth spurts and strange new odors. It’s all just part of life.

Like it or not, my daughter is just getting to that age. She’s curious about how babies are made. Some of her friends are already wearing bras! And she’s asked me questions about “the bleeding.” What I’ve found works best is just creating space for these conversations to happen naturally. Instead of scheduling a time for “the talk,” I want to create time for us to just be together, and for her to share what’s on her mind. Many times, this is right before bed and she just naturally downloads.

That’s what I shared in the Bliss TV videos and on Unilever’s Don’t Fret the Sweat site. The Facebook Page sponsored by Unliever – maker of Degree, Dove and Suave deodorants – has money saving offers and expert tips, tools and real life stories about how parents helping their tweens become confident and self-reliant teens. I’m honored to be part of it and hope you’ll join me in the always interesting journey of parenting a tween… right, Zen Mommy! 😉

Disclosure: this post sponsored by Bliss TV.

How to Start Talking Birds & Bees

I pulled this video because, one, my girlfriends and I, all mother’s of ten year old girls, were JUST talking about this over lunch the other day. We were all in different places as far as having had “the talk” but agreed it was time if one hadn’t begun to share about this important subject . I for one think any age is a good age to talk about sex , or in the bigger picture, sexuality, with your kids as long as they are asking questions and are interested in your answers. Starting de-mystifies the whole topic so that one day you don’t have to just out of the blue ask your son or daughter to have the big TALK.

I remember having it with my mom and all I can say is that it was uncomfortable, not helpful, isolated occurrence. I wanted to go about things differently with my kids so we’ve been talking about sex in little and big ways since potty training. It started with my husband and I using the correct anatomical names for body parts instead of woo-woo or whatever else we might have come up with. 😉 We said (and still say) vagina. It’s not that it’s so easy for me to speak freely about all things sexuality with my kids, it’s just that it’s IMPORTANT to me. So I do. I sometimes even go a little out of my way to bring the topic up following something we see on television or out and about.

Have you started to have conversations with your teen/tween about how their bodies are changing: why they need to start wearing deodorant or when they can start shaving or why everyone is whispering about Suzy and Johnny? Watch this VIDEO of a Girls in the Know session with Dr. Denise Meckler, OB/GYN and this one by Ria and I on How to Talk About Sex. I hope they get the conversations started in your home or maybe just a bit further along.

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Zen Mommy is Suzanne Tucker, co-creator of the Yoga Parenting course. Are you ready for parenting to be easier, more fun and less stressful?

How Achievement is Stressing our Kids

I am too excited for tonight. Not only am I going on a much anticipated date-night-out with my honey, we are going to see a great document to which I received FREE tickets. Woot. Always a nice thing. Thank you MO History Museum for giving me and two other couples in my St. Louis Mom’s Meetup group tickets. We are all looking forward to seeing “Race to Nowhere”. I’m bringing tissue as my friend Kim, mom of two teen boys, told me she saw it and it made her cry.

This documentary won like four different film festival awards. The flier for it explains the film as follows:

“A concerned mother turned filmmaker aims her camera at the high-stakes, high-pressure culture that has invaded our schools and our children’s lives, creating unhealthy disengaged, unprepared and stressed-out youth.

I was talking to my tween about this very thing last night. She had fallen asleep doing her homework the night before only to wake up at 3am to a sheet of unwritten spelling word sentences. Twenty four left to write. She woke me up at 3:58 am, disoriented and confused… and then got to work on that unfinished homework.

She told me about all this the next morning. It had taken her an hour to finish the work, so at 5:00am she tucked herself back into bed to sleep for another 90 minutes before her day began. She told me how GLAD she was to have woken up and finished her work as five other kids at school that day had not finished their spelling word sentences and had to stay in at recess.

None of what my daughter shared with me is out of bounds. If she had completed her work at 5pm instead of working on it at 9pm, none of it would have even happen. But I mention it because I think it speaks to the normal amount of stress kids feels in middle school. Add to that sports or a demanding parent and/or teacher and the stress levels rise way beyond what our tweens and teens need to be dealing with.

I hope you’ll join me in re-committing to avoid OVERSCHEDULING. Less is more. I’ll let you know what I thought of the movie tomorrow!

Followup: Okay – it’s tomorrow and I’m telling you, you HAVE TO SEE THIS MOVIE!!! Sign up for it on Netflix or where ever as soon as you can. See it if it comes to your city. IT is that important. Talk about a great conversation starter as well. My husband and I stayed up and talked about it for hours after seeing the film.

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Suzanne Tucker is publisher of MyMommyManual.com and co-creator of YogaParenting, an online course helping parents create more joyful, less stressful parenting. If you liked what you read here, she hopes you’ll JOIN My Mommy Manual for more inspiring (and free) parenting tips, delivered regularly right to your Inbox.

Zen Mommy Minute: Skinned Knees Rock

It is important to allow our children to fail. To fall down. To be disappointed. Sound harsh? Believe it or not, it actually helps our kids build self-esteem and self confidence when we refrain from “saving” them from life.

It also helps our children grow when they see us modeling acceptance in the midst of our own “not-perfect” moments. Example: You arrive 10 minutes late to school pick up and as they climb in the car you say, “I’m sorry I’m late for pickup today guys! How was your day?” with a smile instead of modeling GUILT with something like “I am soooooooo soooooorry I’m late. I feel so bad. I thought I could get another errand done in time. That was so stupid of me. Man. I hate when I do that…” or something to that effect.

When we swoop in and fix things for our kids before they get to experience the consequences of their own less than perfect moments (forgotten lunches, unsigned permission slips, messy rooms with laundry that needs to be thrown down or risk missing laundry day, etc) we are actually doing our kids a disservice, keeping them from a potential lesson in self love and what it takes to “be with” imperfection and disappointments.

What do you do when your child leaves his or her lunch/homework/gym shorts at home??!?!!

Do you remember being a kid and learning from life when it gave you a skinned knee or two?

I’d love to hear about how this topic of skinned knees (and their many blessings) lives for you.

 

xo

PS: If you liked this post, join our community of mindful mamas and receive a free gift, a Hug Each Moment Kit via email today along with weekly positive parenting tips and inspirations direct to your inbox.

Inspiration and support for the journey of motherhood.  The manual is ours to write but we don’t have to write it alone! Let’s connect on twitterfacebook and pinterest too. xoxo

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