Life Habits to Cultivate Now
Changes in hormones, new-found independence and peer pressure sometimes influence a pre-teen’s questionable behavior. While these changes occur, you need to respect your child’s space, but gently nudge him or her into cultivating good habits.
Confused on where to start? Use this guide to help you steer your pre-teen into future success.
Emphasize the Importance of Physical Wellness
Your child will face changes due to hormones. Since puberty plays a big part in physical and emotional wellness, encourage your pre-teen to exercise. Take a walk around the neighborhood, play tennis or a game of catch to highlight the importance of exercise without being overbearing. This offers time to bond over conversations. Along with exercise, emphasize good nutrition. Sometimes this is difficult with busy schedules, but a few times of week, eat a home-cooked meal together as a family. Encourage healthy choices and illustrate how bad eating leads to health problems later in life. Using this approach is way for you to emphasize cardiovascular health, maintaining proper cholesterol, reducing body fat and strengthening bones.
Focus on Maintaining a Balanced Mental State
Check in with your child privately to see how he or she is doing. Parents may check-in during a car ride to school or right before bed. This is a way to find out what is going on at school and with friends, as well as an opportunity to discuss other issues bothering him or her. It is possible your kid will ignore you, but with positive reinforcement, he or she may eventually come around. Share some of your own frustrations as a pre-teen to let your son or daughter feel less alone. By fostering an open dialogue, it helps your child recognize that he or she has the option of having a conversation with you regarding a difficult subject. This is a chance to identify any drug, alcohol, bullying and depression issues your child might face and emphasizing it is never too late to seek help.
Highlight the Importance of Practical Habits
There are important practical lessons to offer your pre-teen. Teaching him or her about money, the importance of saving and how to use a credit card to help steer focus on financial health. Take your child to the bank, setup a savings or checking account for him or her to learn how to make deposits, understand the significance of withdrawals and balancing a checkbook. Talk about the importance of keeping a budget and the seriousness of using a credit card to finance a lifestyle.
In a few years, your child will learn to drive, so engage in a frank discussion about road rage, the importance of keeping good driving habits by obeying traffic laws and using good judgment when his or her friends are in the car. Use online resources to help educate your pre-teen about driving concepts, practice exams and cell phone usage in the car. As a parent, practice defensive driving because it is likely your kid will pick up on your good habits.
Cultivate the Need to Direct Emotions in a Productive Way
Mood swings are a part of a pre-teen’s development. You must know when to give your pre-teen space and when to encourage him or her to direct anger and sadness in a more productive way. Violent outbursts, aggressive behavior and disrespectful tantrums are behaviors you must not tolerate. Instead, guide him or her into channelling this frustration in a way which is productive for both of you. Since peer pressure is a difficult adjustment in the pre-teen years, try to encourage ways to lessen anxiety about classes, friendships and social issues. Ask your pre-teen to journal, participate in yoga and cultivate some downtime to recharge.
The pre-teen years may offer difficulties, but parents possess resources to guide him or her in the right direction.