Tweens tend to put distance between themselves and their parents. Here's how to keep the bond strong
He no longer wants to hold your hand in public; instead, he walks five paces ahead of you through the mall. Stories of his day no longer tumble out the minute he walks through the door; instead, he’s more likely to grab a cookie and head for the computer. If you try to give him a hug, nine times out of 10, he shrugs it off.
Tweens often want to put distance between themselves and their parents. Teresa Bouchard, an occupational therapist specializing in parent education in Kelowna, BC, says this is part of healthy development, as kids begin to shape identities separate from their families. “Parents are still on the burner, but they’re being moved to a back burner,” she says.
The challenge is to become more proactive about staying close. Quality time together, open communication, encouraging talks and lots of affection are still the basic building blocks, but you will need some new strategies and you’ll probably have to work harder to stay connected.
Remember that kids still want their parents to be close, but they want more control in the relationship. As the storm of puberty begins to play with hormones and affect moods, tweens look to their parents for help with coping with strong feelings and understanding relationships, says Bouchard.