Make a date with your child
As our children go through the phase where they are working on their identity, they are easily drawn to new and cutting-edge fads and trends. Rather then being ignorant of what goes on around your child, you as parents can get engaged and be in the know of the latest in their world to convert such knowledge into teaching moments. Our Teen Sponganalist Jofid Leong delves into the tween world and suggests how to use this knowledge to your advantage to connect and improve the relationship with your child.
KNOW them by getting aquainted with the world they move in, and then with them personally. By such involvement, you as parents can debunk the myth that parents are old-fashioned and outdated. It serves to underline to them that you acknowledge them as a person and want to understand them as such.
5 hot tips: Get to know them personally
Make a date
Take the initiative to spend quality time with your child and get to know them intimately as a person. Sit down over steaming cups of hot chocolate and enjoy the time together chatting. If long conversations are not your child’s cup of tea, or if you are not comfortable with this level yet, you can bond with them through activities they enjoy. This may mean going shopping with a daughter or playing sports with a son. Doing things they enjoy helps you to find out more about their likes and personality, and hence the trends and fads they are likely to emulate.
Shop with your child
This is the best way to witness tween trends and fads first-hand at tween/teen hotspots. Allow your child to lead you and enjoy the ride first. You can even surprise them with information you have gained from browsing through fashion and trend watching websites. Remember not to be judgmental or overly critical about their shopping preferences, but to let your child browse in ease. The last thing you want is for them to feel suffocated under the watchful glare of the ‘mother hen’. After all, they are still in the experimental stage. You can slowly and subtly slide your comments in when they are trying to make a purchase decision later on.
Your child's room
The bedroom is a person’s personal and private sphere, and holds a wealth of clues to his or her real self. Psychologists say you can identify a person’s character traits just after fifteen minutes of studying his or her room. Be it a pair of oversized shades on the dresser, or five bottles of styling wax on the bedside table, every item offers you insights into the trends your tween favours.
The tween party
Allow your child to invite their friends over. What better way to understand them than to observe their behaviour and conversation topics when they are in their comfort zone among their peers? Play the role of a warm host, get to know your child’s friends and give your child the opportunity to feel proud to have a parent like you. This will also be a good chance for you to evaluate whether your child is in good company.
Leave the door open for your child to run to at anytime. Communication is essential in maintaining an open and trusting relationship between you and your child. Amidst the waves of changes and transitions in your tween’s life, be there for him or her to confide their questions and problems in. No amount of internet surfing and magazine-reading can amount to the precious connection you gain through affirmation and loving communication with your tween. When the trust is built up, your tween will naturally turn to you for advice – be it fashion or dating advice, and you will also naturally fall into the flow.
With these hot tips in mind, you can be the cool parent every tween (and later, teen) wishes he or she had. Understanding your tween is the key to being in the loop. After all, it’s not trends that make the tween but rather tween that makes the trends.