Read on about how to stay focused during ages 11-14!
1. They want to be with you (sometimes) :
They appreciate that you have money- but don’t (yet) want to take your money and run off with their friends. They want to go explore and do things together. This provides opportunities for you to reiterate your family values.
2. They are more mature now:
They can handle meatier or deeper conversations. Have you have been raising them within a spiritual practice? They may be ready to discuss their questions or listen to some of your thoughts. These conversations may be happening way later in the evening than you might prefer :). Don’t assume they aren’t interested if they do not jump back in the conversation right away. This is an opportune time to plant seeds.
3. They are still “yours”.
They do not yet have the freedom(or their friends don’t have the freedom) to drive or ride with friends. This will come when they are in highschool. Do not hurry them along into these freedoms before it is time. Pick up a book to read through together or learn a new hobby together. Use your 156 Saturdays in the season of 11yo-14yo to learn something together.
While they are limited in freedoms, take advantage of this time to show them the world!
4. Blatant insecurity has them thinking about themselves all the time.
This is part of the process of them readying themselves to find a healthy partner. This is crucial for them to create a responsible and happy life. Give them resources to build their skills (grooming, dressing, fitness, social skills, etc). Provide them with more adults than you for a well rounded approach:
sport documentaries, or
sports camps during the summer.
5. Their math skills are checking account/ debit card ready!
They can balance a “check book”, learn to write a check (sometimes still necessary!) They can learn that one must pay off credit or pay interest (and compound interest). Start introducing these concepts! Show them how you budget (use pretend numbers if they are the over analytical/anxious type).
6. They have incredible energy.
Let them take over house cleaning or yard mowing and pay them (or not).
7. They need healthy food and good sleep.
Teach them healthy sleep hygiene. Insist on no phones in bedrooms. Be aware of phone addiction.
8. They need love, nurturing, praise and support as much as they did when they were 2,3 and 4.
Use sticker charts or check lists if you have a wild and crazy pre-teen. Use what works to help them stay on task, but preserve your relationship. Pray over them where they can hear you and thank God for their strengths.
Don’t depend on what your parents did for you only. Their childhood isn’t over yet! You are their parent and you have a ways to go. There will be many blessings to come from your hard work. Keep pouring in until the cup overflows.