The Reasons Your Tween Gets Very Moody

I have an 8-year-old, I don’t know if he counts as being a tween but I do feel that he is definitely slowly turning into a breed I haven’t encountered before. There are loads and loads of mention of the baby years, toddler years and pre-schooling years out there so parents like you and I more or less know what to expect while we raise our little human beings. But there’s very little mention of the tween years i.e. 8-12 years old. I don’t really know what to expect. I don’t think I understand what they’re all about, their inner thoughts, how they relate to us parents and what their expectations are.

I’ve been noticing some changes in my eldest son these past few months and I realise that sometimes I don’t understand him and he might actually feel that i don’t get him. That almost makes me feel like I’ve failed as his mother.

So what are some of the transformations that I’ve noticed in my beginner tween?

  • a decreased interest in toys
    – he finds train tracks, LEGO, blocks, etc boring.
    – he rarely joins us in board games like Monopoly, card games, etc
  • ability to spend time alone at longer stretches of time (e.g. read, etc)
  • being genuinely caring towards his younger siblings (sometimes)
  • it takes more for them to agree with our points or listen to us
  • gradually playing more with friends than with parents
    – but he does still love it when we play catch with him and his brothers
  • moody

Oh man, that word – moody – I don’t even know where to start. To give him some credit, it doesn’t happen all day long, but he does get moody, something that wasn’t in his personality prior to his tween year. Sometimes I ask myself if he’s depressed. I try to look for signs of depression in him, like was he sad, withdrawn, did he have a loss in appetite, etc. Whereas he does have problems staying asleep throughout the night, which has been in him since he was young, he does not express other signs of depression. So his mood swings must have other origins?

Read more: What makes a happy child?

It’s been in my mind for a few months now, thinking about what I did wrong that made my sweet angel so easily moody. So I finally came to some conclusion:

1. It’s a Cry for More Love
You know how it is. We have unlimited love but we have limited energy and time. So when our kids are independent, we let them be. We focus on the littler ones who still need us to do everyday things. But along the way, we forget that our bigger kids also need us. They no longer need us to tie their shoelaces, give them a shower or pour their cereal. But they need us on another level now. And most parents fail to realise that. They need us to be emotionally available. They need us to show that we still love them despite not spending all our waking hours helping them do daily tasks anymore. They need us to give them surprise hugs, tell them how much we love them, ask them about their favourite computer games instead of just asking whether they have completed their homework. They need to feel loved in a different way. It’s no longer about keeping them fed and clothed but more about recognising the individual they’re becoming.

2. It’s Partly Hormonal
I guess this is the only thing about the tween years that almost all of us have heard about. Hormonal changes contribute to the mood swings and emotional sensitivity during these years and into the early teens. One minute your tween is mild and courteous, the next he seems frustrated and upset over something so insignificant (to you).

Hormones – while it is a very valid point from a  biological point of view, we can’t let it be an excuse for ourselves to let our children act out. We can allow them to have their mood swings but we still need to let them know that it is not acceptable behaviour to talk back, roll their eyes or argue with an adult. If unaddressed, it could become part of their personality as they move onto their teenage years and adulthood.

3. And Partly Attitude
You know how they think they’re no longer babies. They feel that they know more now, that they understand the world a lot better, that we’re not right all the time. This kind of realisation could make them think too highly of themselves. They might even think they’re smarter than us in certain aspects. It’s them trying to show to us that they are smarter and bigger now. They show frustration when they realise we’re the right one. They show frustration when we don’t agree with them. It is our job to teach them to have patience when relating to the people around them, that not everyone can think in the same way they think.

4. Your Tween Is Equally as Clueless as You Are, If Not More
And finally, I’m sure our tweens do not feel good showing their attitude or mood swings. But they can’t control themselves well enough to prevent it from happening in the first place, much like toddlers and their tantrums. Except this time they know how to regret their words and actions. When that happens, they get even angrier that they had acted in a certain way or that why we even allowed things to escalate.

It is difficult to understand how your daughter can discuss world politics with you one moment and have a full blown tantrum the next because you won’t allow her to have ice cream for lunch. Perhaps your son seems socially savvy, engaging in conversations with adults like a pro, “then why”, you wonder, “does he struggle to get his homework completed on time and/or prepare his own school bag?”

Our tweens are still growing and finding themselves. They’re still learning how to be a human being in today’s society and culture. Give them more love, guide them and most importantly, give them some time to find their way.

Till next week,

Lili is a wife and a mum to 3 boys. An aspiring writer. Adores creativity, art and beautiful creations. Dog lover. Gentle-parenting follower. Follow her parenting journey at http://www.happywehappyfamily.com where she writes about family happiness and how to stay connected to our spouse and kids.

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3 Comfort Items EVERY Mum Deserves To Own

Eye-mask

My husband’s colleague gave me what could have been the best gift I received this year. She gave me my very first eye-mask! I fell in love with it the first time I tried it. The pressure on my eyes when it’s closed – it’s just heavenly and relaxing. She gave me the type that has an insert that could be cooled in the fridge. Super duper love it!

A recliner

What could beat a place to lie down and stretch your back? Personally I do not like to lie on the bed unless it’s bedtime. So a recliner is the perfect choice. We all deserve this y’all. Now lean back and stretch your legs!

A good playlist

Music soothes, music enlivens. Have yourself a ready playlist for different times of the day. Doing mundane housework like mopping and washing dishes? Listen to your favourite songs. At the end of the day after all the kids have gone to bed? Listen to another list of your favourite songs. Add some mood and rhythm into your life!

These are my top 3 must-have items to help me recharge and be available for myself and my family the next day. What are your go-to self-care routine? Share your secrets in the comments!

Do Each of Your Children Feel Important?

The hubbub of work and school sometimes leave little space for us to give attention to our children individually. Nonetheless, In our family we have figured out 3 effective habits to let each child know that they are special, because they are.

1. Acknowledge their contributions or bigger achievements. Make a point of speaking about the things that you like about each of your children. You can do this as you go about your daily life or you can try what our family has been doing:

Every Sunday night we have a mini family bedtime routine whereby we come together and everyone starts sharing

– “I love it when [so and so] ….. [does something]” or

– “I like [so and so] because ……. “ or

– “[so and so] makes me happy when [he/she]…

We did not only restrict the sentences to our children but each family member gets to tell at least one thing they like about all the other members in the family.

A lot of times we hear happy giggles during this session, sometimes silly sentences come out. Even then, laughing together promotes bonding, just make sure there is no teasing involved because that would have defeated the purpose of making someone feel loved and special.

2. We have monthly dates with our boys on specific dates. They know exactly which day is their date night with either one of the parents. This is how it goes:

– the day of their birthday will be their monthly date for their date. For example if your child was born on 5th of June, we would make his date with a parent on every 5th of the month. They LOVE looking forward to their special date on the calendar as they know exactly when it is. It’s already fixed for the whole year!

– we alternate the parents that go out on these dates. For example January is mummy’s turn to date 3 boys on their own individual days. Then February is daddy’s turn, and back to mummy in March and so on. This way each child gets an undivided attention for some period of time every month and each parent gets to give their time to one child fully in that period of time.

For the child it’s like being an only child once a month. Isn’t that nice? 🙂

– to make the date even better? Let them choose what they want to do on their date day (within reason). You’re guaranteed a happy child for those few hours 🙂

3. Allow for open communication. In our family, we try very hard to let the kids be heard. Sometimes it’s easier said than done. Sometimes we just want to tell them what needs to be done and how they should behave and we forget that they have their own reasons or logic to do certain things.

Listening on the part of adults make children feel that they are loved and that they matter.

To sum up, each child will feel important if parents can

– acknowledge their contribution
– give them undivided attention consistently
– listen.

If you have not been doing the above, here is a challenge for you to take for the next one week.

  1. When my child has done something right, I’m going to praise his/her effort by saying ______________ .
  2. I’m going to decide on the frequency and duration I want to give each child my fullest attention. The frequency is __________ , for a duration of _____________. I’m going to start on _________________ (date)
  3. After my child expresses himself in words, I will make an effort to rephrase what he/she had just said so they know I was listening.

Let me know how it goes in the comments!

10 Ways You Can Make Your Kids Exclaim “You’re The Best!”

It was easy to make babies, toddlers and even preschoolers smile their biggest smile. A simple peek-a-boo can have your baby laughing away for 10 minutes. Chasing bubbles can make a toddler squeal their happiest sounds. A family ride on the top deck of a double-decked bus can have your preschoolers excited for the whole 20 minute-ride. But these things hardly bring out the biggest smiles on our 7 and 5-year-olds now. They claim that everything is boring and that only the iPad can make them happy. Well, sorry boys, that’s not going to happen. You only get a limited amount of screen time each week. So you’re gonna have to learn to enjoy life without the iPad! I survived mine when I was younger!

Nonetheless, there are still so many things that could bring out that biggest smile you’ve been missing. Here are some of my favourites:

  1. Let them run in the rain. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen Oliver’s biggest smiles on the days I let him run freely in the rain. My tummy does some butterflies whenever I see that level of contentment on his face. It’s just priceless. Running in the rain gives them a sense of freedom and a chance to release any tension they might have. Water helps to reduce anxiety and calms a person down. So let them run, let them get wet. Allow them to let loose. Just make sure they have a non-slip pair of sandals on and that there are no possibilities of falling branches in the vicinity.
  2. Make slime together. Nothing makes kids more excited than being able to make their own toy! They love knowing that they can make something found in the toy shops. It’s like they have special abilities! Even my dear Oliver who has a slight tactile hyper-sensitivity enjoys slime. Whew!
  3. Family movie nights. In my 8 years of parenting, I haven’t come across any child that does not like looking at the screen. So of course, when we proposed a movie night, our 3 boys jumped in pure excitement! I love that feeling when you know your kids are happy with your suggestions. Our movie nights are right in our own family room in the comfort of our own cosy sofa seats. You don’t have to make a trip to the cinema, but you can do it once in a while.
  4. Favourite Characters In Town. Keep a look out at your local malls for any visits by Paw Patrol, PJ Masks, Peppa Pig or Barney, etc. They would be over the moon to get to meet their favourite characters. It might be equivalent to us getting to meet Meryl Streep. You get what I mean.
  5. Play chase. I have to admit that joining my children in their games of chase or hide and seek and soccer takes a lot from me. I would rather be seated with my book. But every time I want to say “no”, the images of those happy smiles while I chase them and the memory of the sounds of the happy squeals when they try to run away from me tell me that it’s going to be worth it. Get in the game. Don’t just sit at the bench. Join them when they play with other children at the playground. You have no idea how proud they feel when their friends say to them “your parents are so cool!”.
  6. Get an indoor swing. Our occupational therapist said that swinging helps calm the mind, especially for children with sensory processing disorder. Well, after that session, we went to IKEA and got our very first indoor swing! For those of us who live in an apartment or simply do not have that big of a yard space, an indoor swing is the perfect solution. They can swing as they switch between different activities inside the home. They do not have to wait for “playground time” or “backyard time” to get to enjoy the benefits of swinging.
  7. Surprise them with puddle-ready sandals or boots. Last week I did something I had never done before. It was a rainy day, I picked up my children from school with their Crocs sandals ready in hand for them to change into. They put on their raincoats and was allowed to run wild and jump in all the puddles on the way home. Those smile and giggles were priceless.
  8. Art and craft. I realise that ever since Edward goes to Primary 1, he craves for more art and craft activities at home. I suspect it’s because he has less art and craft in school than he used to have in K2. So I try my best to give them one art and craft slot per week to let them express their creativity.
  9. Say “yes” to playdates. Edward is going to have his first playdate with his Primary 1 classmates tomorrow and he’s so excited! Even Oliver is excited too because he knows them as well. They plan to play badminton and some other games. Imagine if I had said no, what would they have missed out?
  10. Play their games. We all love it if our partner joins us in our favourite activity. I love it when my husband accompanies me to the museum and he loves it when I accompany him to an Apple shop. Ha! Children also crave for parents to participate in activities that they like. Right now Edward and Oliver are into Pokemon cards. Until today I still do not understand what is so fun about playing Pokemon cards but I play with them anyway and it makes them feel loved when we play what they like. What do your kids like? Play with them, they’ll love it!