Coping with tweens - from seniors to juniors!

A STAGE of imminent physiological changes, this is the threshold into early adulthood. In early cultures and even today, this is marked by lavish ceremonies honouring the change from child to adolescence or early adulthood. For those moving into secondary school, there's the significant transition from being looked up to in the upper primary levels to being new and juniors at secondary school. 

Ages: 11-12
Levels: Primary 5/6

• Early adolescence - a period of much social and biological changes in their bodies. Some children can begin to show signs of stress, such as sudden outbursts or moodiness.
• Exhibit signs that they need more privacy.
• Become very clothes-conscious, wanting the right shoes or jeans, for example.
• No longer likes to be "seen" with you when he or she is with friends, almost as if they have dual personalities.

How to help:

• Get a good dictionary and thesaurus to help with assignments. Or explore/subscribe to a good online dictionary.
• Have regular talks with your child about how he or she feels about the changes in his or her body. Encourage your child to speak honestly and offer reassurance when he or she expresses self-doubts.
• Keep lots of high-energy, low-fat snacks available.
• Allow your child to help with family projects. For example, if you are planning a remodeling job, allow your child to do the math computations. Or it could be a family tree photo album compilation.
• Insist that your child uses some of his or her own money to help buy their own wants of clothes, shoes, jeans, etc. 


Ages: 12-13
Level: Primary 6/Secondary 1

• Close to becoming a full-blown teenager, almost like a stranger.
• Secondary school academic work is rather different from primary school experience. Beginning to enjoy a greater independence, needing to be more responsible in getting their work done.
• For those in Secondary 1, possible adjustment from being a senior in primary school to being the juniors in secondary.

How to help:

• Give your child a gift subscription to a magazine on a subject he is interested in. It will affirm his identity status and also help to promote reading levels.
• Ask your child to figure out any percentages, fractions or decimals you encounter while shopping together: sale items, tax, or your petrol bill. This allows him to show off his ability to do such computations in his head. In addition, he also increasingly appreciates the cost of living!
• Give your child space to spend time with her close friends. If you arrange these occasions, stay in the background. Your child is cultivating social skills; your role is to facilitate them.
• Affirm your child’s sense of being a unique individual. From there, encourage the sharing of issues that they are concerned about, for example any adjustment issues in secondary school.

Coping with tweens - a primer
The early school years
The confident tweenager