Browsing articles in "Social"
Mar 10, 2013

Social Courage

By kindergarten, most kids know the difference between “nice” and “mean.” They still know it by the time they get to middle school. And all high school students can tell you how awful it feels to be treated unkindly. And yet, kids are often disrespectful to their peers and their parents.

Why this disconnect between knowing what’s right and doing what’s right? Part of the explanation is the fact that our children are growing up in a Culture of Cruelty. That sounds harsh, but we can’t change what we don’t see. Consider what passes for entertainment in the media. It’s often mean-spirited. So are many of the conversations we have at the office, on the sidelines at the game, and in the teachers lounge. Character assassination in public discourse is pretty much the air we breathe. So are put downs, gossip, and snarkiness. The resulting pollution is a hazard to our well-being. It’s also a huge problem for parents who want to raise nice kids who do good in the world.

Our kids are good kids. They really are! But they are also constantly challenged by the less-than-compassionate standards of their peers with whom they are mind-linked 24/7. Today’s t(w)eens suffer from status anxiety at levels no other generation has endured. This compels them to do whatever it takes to fit in, including things they are not particularly proud of. Despite these challenges, we can teach our kids to be people with good intentions and social courage, i.e., the ability and the will to do the right thing.

Adults who live and work with kids often give lip service to the importance of teaching young people to do the right thing. But how much actual teaching is being done at home and at school? If we don’t prioritize character development, we’re failing our kids. We can do better.

Here is a simple way to get the ball rolling in the right direction:

1. Talk with your child. Have a friendly conversation about the concept of a “pecking order” in the animal kingdom. Maybe you’ve observed two dogs or two cats at close range. Often it’s clear which animal is “dominant” or “bossy” and which is more submissive. Talk about how there can also be a pecking order amongst people. We usually feel uncomfortable when we are on the bottom, getting bossed around. But when we’re not on the bottom, we don’t often give much thought to those who are.

2. Listen to your child. Ask your son/daughter about who is on the bottom at school. (Even kids as young as second or third grade have a keen awareness of social strata.) Ask, “Why do you think s/he’s on the bottom? How do other people treat that child? How do you treat him/her? What might happen if you stood up for that child?

3. Challenge your child to be a hero. Encourage him/her to shake up the pecking order by standing up for someone who needs a friend. Take the challenge yourself!

4. Follow up. In a week, have another friendly conversation with your child and share what happened on the challenge. Discuss whether you want to keep the challenge going.

We parents are gardeners. We plant seeds and nurture those seeds through conversations, modeling, and real world experiences. Of course, we are not our children’s only influencers but we can provide the tools they need to do the right thing, online and off. Whether they actually step up, is their choice. But at least we’ll know we’ve done our part well.

Apr 16, 2012

Tween Bullying and Eating Disorders: Battling the Outer and Inner Attacker

Recent headlines have shown the enormous psychological impact bullying can have on someone’s sense of self worth. If left untreated, bullying leads to depression, anxiety, low self-esteem and suicide. The majority of bullying occurs in the tween and teenage years, where the most sensitive kids are the targets.

A recent study shows that almost 50% of those diagnosed, attributes bullying as a main contributor to the development of an eating disorder. Starting in elementary school, bullies target those people who are most sensitive, the same type of people with the temperament to develop eating disorders. This group tends to over-personalize when others talk about them, and generally have less confidence to stand up for themselves and fight back. Instead, the bullying renders them helpless, and they feel alone in defending against the attacker.

When bullying takes the form of making fun of a person’s weight or teasing about body shape, it contributes to the development of an eating disorder. These senseless comments in the tween years make an impact for years to come and are painfully recounted in treatment, even as adults. Victims of these statements are sent an intense message that they are “fat” equaling that they are unwanted, unloved and unworthy, even if the message is not true.

As a result, the victim develops extreme anxiety at the possibility of future attacks, and turning to food as a means to cope. They find comfort in restrictive eating, in hopes they will lose weight and be left alone. Others binge as a way to self-soothe, where some may purge in an attempt to rid themselves of the extra calories. Obsessive exercise alleviates some of the associated anxiety, but it is often short lived until the next time they are scrutinized by the bully. In boys, hopes of bulking up and intimidating the aggressor are coupled with failure if unsuccessful.

To complicate the experience, disordered behaviors then create an inner bully, a relentless critic that mirrors what they are experiencing in the outside world. The person then seeks and distorts evidence that they are unworthy and worthless. When they abuse themselves, it makes it less painful for when the actual bully attacks. This internal faultfinder may be worse, as it never gives its victim a break from the abuse. All of this done in effort to make the person numb via the criticisms, disordered eating behaviors and poor body image perceptions.

If you recognize some of the psychological symptoms of bullying (depression, anxiety, low self-esteem) or behavioral reactions (not wanting to attend school, having “no friends” or actual reports of bullying) in your child, you must intervene immediately. Research shows that the faster you take action, the less of an impact it has on your child. Stand up for your tween, and help them develop ways to stand up for themselves and others who are being bullied. Adopt a no tolerance policy for the mistreatment, and inform the appropriate authorities. Identify resources in your community to help support your child (Therapists, School Officials, Parents, Friends, etc.) and gain as much information as you can through research on the topic. Further, seek help from professionals when the eating disorder is discovered, so that your tween can commit to recovery from the unhealthy behaviors and learn to live a happy, fulfilled life free of the inner and outer bully.

Feb 5, 2011

Puppy Love: Preteens and Crushes

Madeline Gerris, of Westfield NJ, initially noticed her son’s first crush when he started talking about the same girl all the time. “By mid year (of 5th grade), the kids were telling him that his crush liked him. He admitted liking her and that was the extent of the crush.”  Kathy Arky, from West Hartford CT, noticed that her daughter was texting more than usual, took a real interest in how she looked and was consistently in a good mood. “These are pretty good signs that love is in the air,” says Kathy.

What to Expect

Having a crush in late elementary school and early middle school is one of the cornerstones of growing up. Before we can see the physical changes of adolescence, preteens experience a rise in hormones resulting in romantic feelings. “The first phase of a crush is really a visceral attraction that involves a lot of fantasy,” explains Sari Cooper, a NYC Family Therapist. “The next phase is the evolution from fantasy to friendship. Throughout both these phases kids are becoming aware of who they are attracted to. It is important for parents to support those wonderful feelings,” advises Sari.

Preteen girls are usually much more interested in becoming a “couple” than boys. “There were girls calling my son in 5th grade,” remembers Madeline. For girls at this age, a major topic of conversation is their crush. Boys may think that having a “girlfriend” is cool, but are just as interested in talking about sports with their friends. If boys do have a crush, they are more inclined to suffer in silence. Madeline adds, “Boys usually keep it very quiet from everyone in school except their closest friends. Girls have no problem telling everyone that they like someone.”

Technology

Texting and IMing have replaced passing notes and talking on the phone. “Technology makes the crush experience very different from our experiences since our kids never have to make a phone call,” says Madeline. A major difference for preteens today is that not only do they “date” by texting, but they also break up this way. Kathy laments the lack of face-to-face time. “I feel that talking in person is very important. When you read an email or text you don’t get any cues – does your friend feel bad, are they mad?”

As well as being concerned about communication, parents worry about monitoring their kid’s activities. “I think it is a little scary for parents because it is much easier for kids to hide things when they are texting or emailing,” says Madeline. Kathy says that on occasion she will check her daughter’s texts to make sure that they are appropriate. In the age of technology, it is important for parents to be linked into their child’s cyber world. “Knowing your kid’s passwords is part of being a responsible parent,” explains Sari Cooper.

Being There

The most important thing you can do for your preteen during this phase is to listen carefully to what he or she is telling you and acknowledge their feelings. A crush involves an intense set of emotions and it is often difficult for children to express themselves. If your child chooses not to share their feelings with you, it is important to respect their wishes. Sometimes listening involves hearing what is not being said.

It is also important to avoid talking about a crush as if it is a relationship. In truth, a crush is just a glimpse of the deeper romantic feelings that your preteen will feel later in life. “To help your kids develop the capacity for emotional intimacy, it is important to talk to them about creating a foundation of friendship,” recommends Sari Cooper. Seventh grade mom, Madeline says, “I always encourage kindness during and after a crush. These are classmates that they will have for many years to come and they do not want to lose a long term friendship.”

The end goal, for parents, is to protect their child’s self-esteem. Sari recommends that parents watch for a reaction if their child’s feelings are not reciprocated. Preteens are developing their identity and may internalize rejection as “I’m not good enough”, “I need to go on a diet” or in the case of boys, “I need to beef up”. Since not everyone’s feelings get returned, it is important to remind your child that it is not necessarily a reflection on them. Sari suggests emphasizing the importance of finding friends that you really connect with; friends that are authentic and appreciate the gifts you have.

The Future

Crushes for most 8 – 12 year olds are quite innocent. However, there is a big developmental jump when kids turn 13 or 14. The teenage years are important, as it is a critical time in the development of their identity. During these years, without a firm sense of self, kids are most at risk for being overly influenced by peers. Dating early often causes teenagers to compromise who they are in order to make themselves more acceptable. Studies have shown that early romantic relationships are connected with low grades, drug and alcohol use, depression and sexual activity. Sari Cooper recommends that parents don’t wait until the teenage years to share their values with their kids. “It is better to have many conversations over time about relationships, creating intimacy, family values, religion, sexual health and protection.” By starting these dialogues during the preteen years, parents give their children the road map they will need as teenagers.

Dec 7, 2010

Beyond the Basics: Facebook and Your Tween

As parents of a tween, it’s always helpful to try to stay ahead of the curve so that you can understand what your child is getting involved in and be prepared to determine it’s appropriateness. If you’re like many, your pre-teen probably knows more about social networking than you do (the first clue to the technology fast track was when your tween changed your settings on your cell phone). If you already have a Facebook account and want to get a better understanding of how to use Facebook effectively (and how your tween might use Facebook), an important step is to gain a solid understanding of the various settings you can choose as a part of your profile. The settings are, in essence, the boundaries that you choose to define your “appearance” on Facebook. If you don’t already have a Facebook account and would like to see what the buzz is about, check outFacebook 101 for Parents of Tweens for information on how to get started.

One of the best pieces of advice we can offer to a new Facebook user is to test the waters (once you’ve friended someone who will act as your guinea pig!). Get a good sense of what happens when you take certain actions. As long as you’re interacting with a trusted friend, you’ll begin to see how the communications flow works. This kind of understanding will give you some good information to make informed settings decisions that will meet your needs.
Privacy Decisions

Not surprising, the most often cited reason for people not participating inFacebook is that they have privacy concerns. When it comes to privacy, you have a few philosophical decisions to make. Either you limit the information you post, or you include a good amount of information and utilize Facebook’s privacy preferences. Or you could do some of both. Not unlike getting comfortable paying your bills online, there’s a leap of faith to entrust Facebook with your personal information. Since trust and integrity are integral to Facebook’s reputation, the company puts a lot of emphasis on the importance of both.
Privacy Settings

Once signed in, click Settings in the upper right hand corner and select Privacy Settings. Virtually every aspect of the information you provided about yourself and what you post becomes your choice of whether it can be viewed by others. This includes: Profile, Basic Info, Personal Info, Status and Links, Photos Tagged of You, Videos Tagged of You, Walls Posts, Education Info and Work Info. You can also select who gets to view any of this information from your profile, including: Everyone, My Network and Friends, Friends of Friends, and Only Friends. Further, you can customize your profile to exclude specific people (this is the setting you don’t want your tween to select, i.e., excluding you!) from various aspects of your profile and postings. While making a determination of who sees what, think about all of the potential viewers before selecting “everyone” from the menu (i.e., child, spouse, employer, potential friends, search engines…literally, everyone!).

The more information you include in your public profile, the greater the chance of being “found” (great if you’re trying to connect with old friends, not-so-great if you want to stay incognito!). It’s helpful that you can check to see how you appear to others by typing in a friend’s name in the indicated box on the same page; you’ll then be able to view what they see about you.

It’s important to note that you have, through the Settings and Privacy path, the ability to block specific people from finding/seeing you on Facebook. When someone is on your Block list, they can’t search for you on Facebook (and therefore can’t friend you); they can’t write on your wall and they can’t write a message to you. And, they won’t be able to see what you’ve written on someone’s wall or anywhere else on the site.
Setting Tween Boundaries

Once you’re up-to-speed, in thinking through your comfort level with your tween’s use of Facebook, there are several factors that you’ll want to consider and be prepared to address with your pre-teen, such as:

  • If your pre-teen is under 13, he/she will have to falsely claim to be at least 13 to get an account. This is important because, if you’re OK with letting your tween confirm an older age during the sign-up process, it’s worth a discussion about when it’s OK and when it’s not OK to falsely state information (which, of course, opens up a whole can of worms, doesn’t it?!?)
  • Will you require your pre-teen to friend you so that you can see the type of communication taking place among his/her friends? If you believe this is important, and many people do, you need to decide how firm you’ll be with your “request.” Friending your tween will enable you to access their profile, photo albums and wall (where others post comments). Some parents require being friended as a quid pro quo for their pre-teen’s opportunity to have a Facebook account. Your tween may heartily resist friending you, claiming that other kids don’t need to. Be prepared. FYI, once your tween becomes proficient on Facebook, they’ll likely discover that they can limit the data you see from their profile (just as you can limit theirs); hopefully they won’t figure this part out too soon. By the way, you should also know that you can be “un-friended” without notification. All you need to do is: click on the person’s profile, go toward the bottom of the page (left column) and click “Remove from Friends.” If you are friended with your tween, you might want to check periodically to make sure you haven’t been un-friended!
  • Will you allow your tween to post (and tag) photos? Putting a name with a picture is a scary idea for many parents. All you need is an address or a commonplace location and there could be an element of familiarity that makes someone seem harmless to an unsuspecting tween. In actuality, however, privacy settings can ensure that only friends can see the details of yours/their tagged photos. It depends on your level of comfort.
  • How much time will you allow your pre-teen to spend on Facebook each day/week? This can be tricky. Some pre-teens have to carefully manage overall technology screen time. Others have a brief fascination and move on. It’s an individual tween/family decision of course, but might be addressed under the broader consideration that includes all technology. As one parent pointed out, “I don’t mind that my tween has a DS, a Wii, and participates in social networking…at least I have a carrot or stick to get them to follow the rules!”
  • Who will you friend among your tween’s peers? The expert consensus is to let your tween’s friends and children of your friends send you the “friending” invitations. That way, except for your own child, you won’t be interfering (and heaven forbid, cause your tween embarrassment!). Also, of note, once you have your tween and his/her friends in your circle, you can no longer “speak” without a filter. So, keep that in mind as you post your quips!

Features and Jargon

Newsfeed – the Newsfeed is located on the home page of your profile. It updates you about your friends‘ activities via their postings and profile changes. You can also have a chance to comment on your friends‘ activities. Others can comment on your comments, and so on! There are several settings options related to the Newsfeed that can again be accessed through Settings and Privacy Settings.

Wall Posting – think of wall posting as the sharing of public comments that you might post on a bulletin board. They’re also helpful for sharing links and videos appropriate for a broad audience. Many of us have experienced the misfortune of sending an email that was misinterpreted; perhaps something you thought was funny was interpreted as angry or your wording was too bossy or worse! The same can happen with Facebook. Keep in mind that changes to your profile picture, edits to your information and uploaded pictures, links and videos will often prompt comments to your wall from your friends. Generally, in your communications, be careful about how you “sound” and, whatever you do, don’t write anything that would embarrass your tween!

Sending Messages and Chat – the Message and Chat features functions much the same way as email and instant messaging in general. It’s between you and yourfriend.

Groups – Facebook users can choose to join any number of Facebook groups. Some may choose groups that are silly (fans of a YouTube Video), others may chose groups based upon an affiliation (fans of Abercrombie). Some may be chosen based on reality and others may be chosen based on aspiration. If you don’t like the group your tween has chosen to be a part of, it might be worth a conversation to understand his/her interest that particular group.

Pokes – “You’ve been poked. Do you want to poke back?” Pokes are silly gestures that really do nothing except point out to the Pokee that you’re connecting.

Quizzes – some people are prolific quiz takers. Are you really interested to share, “What famous literary character are you most like?” or “Which college stereotype are you”? If you like the quizzes, just be sure that you don’t include a quiz like “What’s Your Kissing Style”? It’s probably too much information and will surely embarrass your tween!

Don’t Wave Your “Freak Flag”

A big parent no-no is to express too much on Facebook! For example, photos of yourself or embarrassing photos of your tween (at any point in his/her life!) will likely put your pre-teen over the top. If you do choose to let photos be tagged, your tween’s friends will get notice that there’s a new photo of him/her online. Likewise, too much information on walls and other postings could not only cause your pre-teen to shudder, you may have professional connections that would be awkward!

One way to stay abreast of issues that arise and new updates on Facebook is to periodically search on Google or another search engine if you have any questions. You’d be surprised what a search such as “Facebook privacy” can reveal. Or if you have a concern about an issue in the news, just search it online and get some more information. Also, the Help Center along the bottom of the page is a great tool to learn more about functionality.

And, don’t forget to enjoy the fun part of social networking!

Jun 12, 2010

Facebook 101 for Parents of Tweens

We were in the midst of creating an article highlighting Facebook etiquette, for the benefit of parents interacting with their kids and their kid’s friends on Facebook. And while we believe that it’s a topic worth publishing, we realized after speaking with many readers and subscribers, that there are still a fair amount of parents that have managed to avoid the whole Facebook craze! Some even state their lack of knowledge and interest as a source of pride! Others cite technology intimidation as a barrier. So, we decided to first offer a very basic primer on what you need to know and do to get up-to-speed on Facebook! While you may disagree with it’s premise or question it’s value, as the parent of a tween, it’s important to be aware of Facebook’s power and impact. For those of you who are active on Facebook, stay tuned for an upcoming article focused on etiquette!
Brief History of Facebook

Launched in February 2004, “thefacebook” was founded by (then) Harvard Student, Mark Zuckerberg as a social networking tool on campus. The idea quickly spread among students at Harvard, then Stanford and Yale and throughout colleges in the U.S. and Canada. In August 2005, “thefacebook” was officially renamed Facebook and the rest is history in the making!
As a Parent, Why Join Facebook?

If you don’t think your tween is aware of Facebook, think again…with over 250 million active users (and growing exponentially), awareness isn’t an issue! Without a doubt, the vast majority of older tweens (and some younger ones as well, despite the age criteria of needing to be 13 years old) have Facebook accounts. As a parent, it’s hard to debate the importance of knowing where your pre-teen is spending his/her free time. It might help to think of it like this…since you’d most likely want to check out a destination where your tween was going, the same should hold true for the internet. As a bit of a bonus, when using Facebook, connecting with current or past friends from yesteryear can be a trip down memory lane!
What Does Facebook Offer?

The updated, current version of Facebook offers a secure means to interact and connect with friends, relatives and people with similar interests. In order for someone to view your profile, except for the information you choose to share with the overall community, they need to be approved by you; they need you to friendthem. Once you’re friends, you can regularly view the information your friendspost as well as the profile they created about themselves; and they can see your profile and postings as well. You can reach out to find others. Or, you can wait for others to find you.

Not only is Facebook a social network that enables you to share insights and information with friends in a mass way, you can send a private message to afriend. Another outstanding feature is the ability to share photographs through a very simple uploading process. Note: be careful about “tagging” photos (i.e., don’t identify people in photos, especially your children by name). While security is of paramount importance and Facebook pride’s it’s organization on trust and integrity, since there’s little value in doing so, it’s best to avoid “tagging” altogether.

 

Facebook Security

While any public domain is hard-pressed to completely avoid the potential for hacking, security is taken very seriously by Facebook. In fact, there’s a “Chief Privacy Officer” whose team is responsible for staying ahead of the curve in keeping your private information private! And, unlike the first incarnation of Facebook where most everything that you published was for general consumption, now there are plenty of limitations that you can place on your profile. Facebook’s privacy settings allow you filter what information from your profile can be seen when someone searches for you. You can configure your settings so prospective friends can see only your name and photo, or you can choose to include other information, like a list of your current friends. And, you can control what kind of information your friends have access to. While you may want some details to be viewable by all of your friends, you have the option to designate certain aspects of your page (your photos, for example) as viewable by only certain friends or family members. The choice is yours and the options for customizing your page based on privacy settings are plentiful.

 

Sign Up On Facebook

While getting started on Facebook can seem daunting to those unfamiliar with the site and its capabilities, it’s very easy to get started. Once you have your account and profile set up, the rest is fairly straightforward. Exploring Facebook, once signed in, is all you need to do to gain a level of comfort.

1. Go to the Facebook.com website and complete the basic information required to register (e.g., name, email address, gender, password, etc.).

2. Add other personal information to make your account robust and representative of you (paying close attention to what information you want others to have access to).

3. Add a current picture. Make it one you like, since you’ll see it every time you post (as will others)!
Begin Creating Your Network of Friends

Once you explore a little, you’ll find that the site is user friendly and easy to navigate. You can begin to find friends with a search focused on a geographic area, high school, college, hometown or other affiliation. And once you findfriends, you can take a look at their friends to find other past contacts. You may be surprised whom you encounter. While you’re making effort to find friends and build your network, others will likely be simultaneously reaching out to add you to their network. You will periodically receive invitations from others to become theirfriend. When you accept a friend invitation, you are added to your friend’snetwork and they are added to yours.
Facebook Jargon

Friend – someone you’ve invited into your network or whose invitation you accepted to connect with.

Wall – a virtual bulletin board where friends can post comments for you (and others) to see. The postings usually come in the form of quips about your recent postings!)

Messages – between you and a designated friend (like email, only from your Facebook account).

What’s On Your Mind/Share – a text box (with the option of attachments) to create postings informing friends of what you’re doing (or have recently done), as well as thoughts you want to share.

Poke – a silly gesture that let’s the person know that you noticed something on their page or are teasing them.

News Feed – the stream of friend postings that show up on your page.

Apr 15, 2010

10 Steps For Helping Your Tween After a Melt-Down or Blow-Up

If your tween is upset and willing to talk to you about what’s going on, these steps can help you help him/her calm down and figure out the next best move. If your teen is not yet ready to talk, respect that and check back with him/her later. If your son/daughter is unwilling to talk to you for whatever reason and your gut tells you they need to talk to someone… get the help of another adult that you and your child trust.

  1. Encourage your tween to ACKNOWLEDGE what he’s feeling and what triggered it. He doesn’t need to tell you, “I’m stressed/pissed/worried, etc. and here’s why.” You certainly don’t want to pressure him by insisting he puts feelings into words. More stress is not what your tween needs right now! What matters most is that your tween tells himself the truth, AKA “I’m upset about _______.” That’s much better than pretending he’s not upset when clearly he is. Also, naming the emotion and the trigger helps to move your child from a purely reactive place into a more reflective (thinking) place. Exactly where you want him to go.
  2. Your tween needs to STOP. Tell her calmly and firmly to put on the brakes. This is especially important if she’s in the middle of an argument on the phone, online, or in the real world. Continuing to fight will only escalate the situation (on both sides). No good will come of it and your tween is more likely to do or say something she will later regret. You are more likely to do the same. So stop yourself from reacting then tell her to STOP. If she won’t, you may have to take away the phone or computer for an enforced time out. If she’s arguing with you, simply remove yourself from the situation by saying, “I need a break. Let’s talk about this later when we’ve both calmed down.” Then make sure you revisit the conversation soon.
  3. Tell your tween to CALM DOWN. Assuming he’s put on the brakes on his behavior, he now needs to chill in the emotion department. If your tween asks “Why should I?!” The simple answer is: “Because it’s the best thing you can do right now for yourself and the people around you.”
  4. Take a BREAK. Or take a walk. Take a nap. Take a shower. Breathe. Count to 50. This advice works for you as well as for your tween. Make sure your tween knows that whatever it takes to calm down is good as long as it’s legal, healthy, respectful, and not against your core values. Make sure you model those rules in your own life. Explain that if your tween won’t calm down, stress will control them and they won’t get to Step #5 where solving their problem really begins.
  5. THINK about your goal. Ask your (now calmer) tween: “What are you trying to do?” In other words: “You’ve got a situation here… what’s your idea for the best outcome?”
  6. Ask: “Does someone need to change in order for you to achieve your goal?” If someone else must start doing something different then your tween’s goal is out of her hands. To pursue it is to set oneself up for more stress! Remind your tween that all we can ever control in life is our own response to what’s going on. When your tween can identify something she personally can work on, she’s ready to proceed to #7…
  7. Ask: “What are your OPTIONS for reaching your goal?” Help your tween make a list of all the options for improving the situation. For each option, encourage him to predict what might happen as a result of choosing that option. Don’t evaluate your tween’s options! Keep your mouth closed unless he asks for your opinion. Guide him by asking: Will what you’re thinking of doing create more or less stress? In you? In a friend? In a group? Important questions to consider before any action is taken! This is an exercise in critical thinking. Let your tween take the lead, think through his options and come to his own conclusions. Your job is to facilitate the process not run it.
  8. Ask your tween to CHOOSE the option that best HELPS the situation.Advise her that options which intentional hurt or embarrass other people, anger them or put you in danger will only make things worse. They’ll also create more stress and will bring your tween back to Step #1. Instead, encourage her to move forward. HINT: The option that makes the best sense for improving the situation is usually accompanied by feelings of empowerment and increased self-respect, if not immediately, then in the long run.
  9. TAKE ACTION. Your tween should be ready to act. A viable (and mature) course of action may be to opt out of an ongoing argument. In other words, to choose “not take the bait.” In many tween social dramas, this is often an excellent move for your child to decide on. On the surface, it may look like doing nothing, but it actually is accomplishing a lot. And it often takes tremendous courage and/or self-control.
  10. CONGRATULATE your tween for calming down and thinking things through. That’s so much healthier and more mature than reacting without thinking.