To Stay Big Picture and Listen

It’s so important as our tweens get older to let go of the details and keep things big picture. One of their friends did something mean?  Talk to them about kindness, inclusion, and your family’s values related to that – not the details of “what so-and-so did.” Your girl wants to go to a party but no parents are home? Talk to them about safety concerns, and let them know that when you’re not around, it’s up to them to stay safe. Your girl didn’t do as well on a school report as she would’ve liked? Don’t drag them down (along with the conversation) by asking exactly how much work they put in or what they did wrong. Instead, keep it top line and throw out some cliches – “there are no shortcuts in life,” “you reap what you sow,” etc. There’s no sense making a fuss over specific details. Nobody wins. Just have a generic discussion about what they can learn from it and how they can move on and do better next time!  Then maybe you won’t have to explain three or four times why they can’t go to that party where the parents aren’t home …

Spark the Discussion: Oh, you’ll know when one of these events arises where you need to resist the temptation to get all the details and delve right in! But instead of falling into the trap of gossip, how other students did on the test, or why the heck a Middle School aged kid is throwing a party while his parents are gone, explain your family’s values and rules, and the reasoning behind them. Whether it’s a moral issue, an academic thing, or a safety concern, talking to your girl like she’s smart enough to understand the “why” behind your stance is better than going deep and stirring up negative emotions that undoubtedly surround these tough topics and make her feel bad. Big picture thinking is quite often enough.

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