Tweens: What to Expect

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Bridging the gap from childhood to adolescence can be rough for a lot of kids - and their parents. As a parent, you never know what sort of outburst or frightening revelation is going to erupt from your hormonal, emotional tween. But your tween is still your child - and it's important to be as available as ever for them. Some of the pitfalls of "tween-hood" are fitting in (or not) with peers and social groups; peer pressure involving drugs, sex and other risky behavior; communication issues with technology and cyberspace; and of course, physical changes such as puberty. With all of their emphasis on friends and school, you may wonder where you fit in as a parent. It may surprise you to know that when older kids are surveyed, they actually express the desire to spend more, not less, time with their parents. Listening and not lecturing seems to be the key in getting your child to open up to you. This may be an age when they still feel comfortable asking you questions about sex, their bodies and addictive substances like drugs and alcohol.