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Updated on November 20, 2013

Tween definition

A "tween" by Wikipedia definition is : preadolescence, that is the stage between middle childhood and adolescence in human development in the range of 10-12 years old.

The tween stage

So your child is now a tween - they have reached "that" age of being not quite a teenager, and not quite a young child. They may feel quite emotional, perhaps wanting to be like a teenager, but sometimes reverting to childish behaviour. They want to be older but are still young and, at times, immature. Starting high school is when they will hit their "tween" stage.

For most children in this age range, they still want the security from their parents, but crave independence and more responsibility. They may mimic the actions and attitudes of older siblings and probably push the limits at times. It can be a bit of an emotional roller coaster at this time of their lives. Their bodies are changing as they hit puberty, attitudes and outlooks change as they make the change into the next phase of their lives.

Tween boys

Boys generally mature at a slower rate than girls, and generally like being outdoors playing/hanging out with their friends. They may start to notice girls at this stage and be keen to have a girlfriend. They may spend a lot of time in their bedrooms, paying more attention to their appearance, and becoming more private, which is perfectly normal. They will begin to notice changes in their bodies and their voice will start to change which can make them feel embarrassed and self-conscious.

Tween girls

Girls tend to prefer indoor activities and doing arty things at this stage. They, too, have started to notice boys and their heads are full of romance, fashion, dancing, gossip, make-up and sleepovers. At this age, they become more sociable and may want to go out much more than before. As with boys, their bodies are going through changes as puberty strikes. Emotionally, they can be over sensitive, moody and weepy preferring their own company as they try to deal with their feelings.

My daughter - the tween!
My daughter - the tween!

Parenting a tween

Parenting a tween, is a very important role that we parents have to do. We still want our children to feel that we are there for them. This is how I have managed this chapter so far:

  • Tell your child that you love them every day.
  • Set aside one to one time to spend with your child each day. Let them know that you are there for them if they ever want to talk, or get your advice on absolutely anything they feel they need.
  • Show an interest in their friends and the activities that they are involved in.
  • Set boundaries and make sure that they are clear on what it is that you expect of them. For instance, if you say they have to be home by a certain time, make sure that they are clear on this.
  • Praise their efforts and successes - let them know that you are proud of them. This will encourage them to do their best and boost their self-esteem and confidence.
  • Give them a bit more responsibility. Perhaps by giving them an extra duty or be in charge of something, they will feel like you are trying to treat them more as an adolescent. A reward for this could be a little extra pocket money, or allowing them to stay up a bit later at the weekend.
  • Don't scream or shout - try to be calm when dealing with problems. Shouting never solves anything, and can make your son/daughter more defensive, argumentative or even withdrawn.
  • Parents need an incredible amount of patience as tweens tend to deal with their feelings in private. I found that by buying my daughter a journal, she was able to cope with her emotions. Spending time alone is par for the course for pre teens, and their privacy should be respected.
  • Try and make their home life as happy and stress-free as you can. This will make for a happier and more secure child.
  • Safety is a big concern for parents as their sons/daughters start to lead a more active life away from home. It may be worth investing in a cell phone, to allow you to contact them or vice versa.

My definition of a parent

P - praise & protect

A - advise

R - respect

E - encourage

N - nurture

T - teach

S - support


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    • jacqui2011 profile image

      jacqui2011 6 years ago from Norfolk, UK

      @ debbie roberts - Thanks so much for your comments and for taking the time to read. I think sometimes when our tweens are being a bit awkward and testing, we feel like no one elses children can be as bad. When I think back to being a teenager myself, I gave my parents so many problems. I was moody, argumentative and awkward. It is such a big change going on in their bodies and they have to deal with all the emotions and hormone rushes. I'm glad you found it helpful and thanks for sharing. Jacqui.

    • debbie roberts profile image

      Debbie Roberts 6 years ago from Greece

      I love your definition of PARENTS!! I'm going to show this hub to my hubby as we've got a tween and a teen and they can be testing. It may also help him to understand that their behaviour is quite normal and it's how we handle these tween/teen years that is important.

      A helpful hub and socially shared, thank you....

    • jacqui2011 profile image

      jacqui2011 6 years ago from Norfolk, UK

      @ wilderness - So glad that this was helpful. I can understand how difficult it must be for you, but I'm sure that it will get easier. Girls go through such a difficult stage with hormones and emotions running high. It will just take a bit of patience and understanding and you both sound like very caring grandparents. Wishing you the very best for the future.

    • wilderness profile image

      Dan Harmon 6 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      Two of my grandchildren are living with my wife and I at this time as our son tries to start a new life with a wife just out of the navy.

      The older (girl) is a tween, and it is difficult for us. We have forgotten what it means to be that age, and never had girls, either.

      Your hub is helpful, both in reminding us how to handle it and in giving some specifics about girls vs boys. Thanks.

    • jacqui2011 profile image

      jacqui2011 6 years ago from Norfolk, UK

      Hi alphagirl - I know exactly what you mean. I try to advise and be there too for my daughter. I also dont like her to feel that I am choosing her friends, but one girl in particular is so hurtful. Lyndsey comes home in tears, but keeps going back to her for more. It's hard to stand by and let them get on with it, but I guess they do have to find out for themselves. Thanks for your input, I appreciate it. Best wishes.

    • alphagirl profile image

      alphagirl 6 years ago from USA

      My 11 year old in middle school has me on a roller coaster ride. We support and guide. What scares me is we as parents can try to monitor as best we can, but some kids have parents that just let them run loose and so my daughter is exposed to that. UGH. Kids do need rules and daughter has a girl friend that is a queen bee and I t bugs us because my daughter is influenced by this little girl. This little girl has no rules.

      I have to guide and bite my tongue about picking her friends. Parents never win and then it is a power struggle. So all we can do is be available incase something goes wrong. I have learned that when she is airing her hurts and pains of friendships with girls, that she does not want advice. She wants an ear. It is painful sometimes to hear your child being hurt. But they have to work it out and sometimes this all it is, them working it out loud by talking..LOL

      your hub was very helpful ao all parents in this age group.

    • jacqui2011 profile image

      jacqui2011 6 years ago from Norfolk, UK

      Hi Phil, Maybe you will be lucky and your child will sail through the tween stage. Thanks for reading and for your comments.

    • Phil Plasma profile image

      Phil Plasma 6 years ago from Montreal, Quebec

      My oldest is turning 10 next April but so far is still a really easy child to be with most of the time. I don't doubt within the next couple of years this will change, reading this hub certainly gives me some help - thanks for posting it.

    • jacqui2011 profile image

      jacqui2011 6 years ago from Norfolk, UK

      Thanks ubanichijoke for taking the time to read and for voting up. It's another stage that kids have to come to terms with and I figure that if we support and guide them, they will enter the next phase as confident, independent teenagers.

    • ubanichijioke profile image

      Alexander Thandi Ubani 6 years ago from Lagos

      This is most useful and informative especially for parents who wish the best for their children. Well written too. Voted useful and beautiful

    • jacqui2011 profile image

      jacqui2011 6 years ago from Norfolk, UK

      @ fastfreta - wow 5 times you have gone through the tweens stage. I will be lucky if I survive the 2nd one! Thank you for the vote up. Best wishes.

    • jacqui2011 profile image

      jacqui2011 6 years ago from Norfolk, UK

      @ Case1worker - Your last sentence made me laugh, because that's exactly how I feel about my 10 year old! Thanks for reading. Best wishes.

    • CASE1WORKER profile image

      CASE1WORKER 6 years ago from UNITED KINGDOM

      Excelent hub! Tweens are closely followed by Teens arrgh! I think your PARENT acronymnn is perfect for any age group. Or as a friend said, she had two 18 years old daughters, except one was ten!

    • jacqui2011 profile image

      jacqui2011 6 years ago from Norfolk, UK

      @ Angie Jardine - Trauma is a good way to describe it and pretty accurate! I don't know which is worse, I have one daughter in "tween" stage and one in "teen" stage - major headaches, but wouldn't be without them.

    • fastfreta profile image

      Alfreta Sailor 6 years ago from Southern California

      What good advice Jacqui2011, I can honestly say I went through all of these stages 5 times. The advice that you gave I did most of it. Very good, voted up, useful, interesting.

    • Angie Jardine profile image

      Angie Jardine 6 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

      Although it's a long time since my children were tweens, I still remember the trauma!

      Great subject for a hub and very useful ... thanks, jacqui2011

    • jacqui2011 profile image

      jacqui2011 6 years ago from Norfolk, UK

      @ ktrapp - thank you so much, your kind comments are very much appreciated. Respect is an important part in the tween stage for parents and children. Best wishes.

      @ cloverleaf - My daughter announced to me on her 10th birthday that she was a "tween" and that was how I found out about it. Lol. Thank you for reading and voting up.

      @ Sinea Pies - I'm glad you liked the article. Thank you so much for the tweet and vote up, you're very kind.

      @ Movie Master - The tween years certainly are tough. I remember back to when I was that age and I was not the easiest person to live with! Thanks for your kind comment. Best wishes to you too Movie Master.

    • Movie Master profile image

      Movie Master 6 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hello jacqui, what a lovely hub and some excellent advice for parents, those tween years are tough! Your daughter looks lovely. best wishes

    • Sinea Pies profile image

      Sinea Pies 6 years ago from Northeastern United States

      Love this hub! Tweeted & Like, voted up and useful. Your tips on how to parent tweens are great.

    • Cloverleaf profile image

      Cloverleaf 6 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada

      Hi Jacqui,

      A "tween" is a new term for me! You've taught me something new today. You have a lovely daughter and make a wonderful parent! Voting up :-)


    • ktrapp profile image

      Kristin Trapp 6 years ago from Illinois

      I think those tears might be pretty typical, and I feel that if you respect them and can sail as smoothly as possible through the teen years then your reward will be a nice adult relationship with your children. Your daughter is just beautiful, by the way.

    • jacqui2011 profile image

      jacqui2011 6 years ago from Norfolk, UK

      @ ktrapp - It is such a big change in childrens and parents lives, as I feel that you lose a little bit of them. I think that if you show them respect, then they will respect you. I am just at the tween stage with my younger daughter, I only need to look at her at the moment and she bursts into tears. Happy Days!!

    • ktrapp profile image

      Kristin Trapp 6 years ago from Illinois

      The tween years can be a very sensitive time. Parenting during this stage can be a little tricky as you've implied. I especially like that you included "respect" in your definition of a parent.


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