7 Ways to Handle Rude Tween Behaviour

How to deal with your preteens and their (sometimes) unpleasant attitude

Updated on August 16, 2017 8:08 am

Luisa Wong

handling rude tween behaviour

Dealing with tweens can be tough. Your child may be going through some changes affecting his or behaviour. But what really goes on inside the mind of a tween? According to child psychologist Dr. Lina Sonna, author of The Everything Tween Book, tweens’ opinions change drastically as well as their mood. But these changes, she adds, is not driven by emotion but by calm, rational tween logic.

A study from John Hopkins University discovered that tweens and teenagers’ undergo a spurt in brain-growth that can be compared with infants and toddlers which explains their meltdowns and tantrums.

Here are some ways to deal with your preteenager's rude behaviour:

1. Stay calm.

stay calm on rude tween attitude

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When your tween has an issue, you don’t necessarily have to respond to it right away. “Whatever your child has done, you will react more constructively from a place of calm,” says Laura Markham, author of Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids. Take your time before deciding between a flight-or-fight reaction.

2. Empathise.

Dr. Sonna also reiterates that it’s normal for parents to be defensive when their tween questions their decision and acts out. To avoid arguments, it’s important for parents to empathise and show they understand.

criticise behaviour not your child

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3. Criticise the behaviour, not your child.

One study revealed that criticism contributes to depression in children. Make sure you’re criticising what your child did wrong—not who they are—because it will affect their self-esteem in the long run. Another study found out that criticisms have no harmful effect to children as long as positive comments outweigh the bad ones.

4. Give them a chance to do what they want.

At some point, you will have to show your child that you trust them. Tweens want to feel independent and in-charge. Things may not turn out well so just make sure to keep an eye on them while they have the independence they’re craving for. This may also be a good learning avenue for them.

open communication with your child

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5. Maintain an open communication.

Communication is essential in a parent-child relationship, regardless of age. Donna Corwin’s book The Tween Years explains that tweens are filled with opinions. They will be firm about what they want and would often argue just to get it. It’s important to establish an open communication so that your tween knows you’re a friend they can trust, and not a foe they should pull away from. Set aside a time for the two of you by going shopping or having breakfast together.

6. Be a good a role model.

Parents are supposed to be good role models to their child. Tweens mostly learn by example. They see the way their parents handle situations so if you deal with them with anger all the time, then they might do so themselves. Show them the behaviour you want them to learn and remember.

make rules and adjust

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7. Create rules and adjust, if need be.

Having consistent rules at home will help establish your role as a parent and give your child a clear idea of your expectations. However, tweens have changing needs so be open to reviewing your rules and changing them. Getting to Calm authors doctors Laura Kastner and Jennifer Wyatt also advise that if you have a hardheaded tween, keep your rules tight and don’t waver.


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Cover photo courtesy of Dr Prem

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