Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Connecting With Your Preteen

We are entering new territory here: The Preteen Era. I have very little experience with this age as I've raised young kids and taught teenagers–the in between stage is an interesting one!  Our oldest son is turning ten.  He has some typical first born traits (you know, did you guess I'm a first born, too?) but something unique to him, is that he does not like to share his feelings.   Maybe he's just like his father in that the doesn't feel like I do.  In one day I experience excitement, fear, anticipation, nervousness, impatience, love, thankfulness, hopefulness, helplessness...I'm all over the place and I just ride it out.  I know he is quite even keeled but no matter how or when I ask, it is difficult to get to find out what's going on in that mind of his (unless it has to do with a video game–then he's an open book.)

In the past, I have found that connecting through activity has worked well.  Whether we are throwing a football around or exploring the woods, he's more open to talking.  However, he gets quite uncomfortable talking about feelings...

A recent report card indicated that it would be helpful to put a little more effort into his journal responses at school.   In order to help him develop this skill,  I decided that I would write a question each day so that when he woke up, he could answer it.  Kai is usually the first kid up and has half an hour to himself in the morning–he now uses part of this time for journaling.  At first, I thought he would resist, roll his eyes, and let me know that I just don't "get it."  Instead, he'll now say something like "Mom, you should make that a journal question." 

He feels awkward sharing his feelings with the exception of his love for his foster sibling each and every day–if only I was a cute toddler!  Since we started journaling, he has opened up, in writing, about what he loves, his friends, school, siblings, struggles, ...just things that I didn't think he would take seriously.  Now this is no miracle, the responses aren't long or in depth, but they are better than nothing.  I think he appreciates that we have this connection and it's just for the two of us.

When I think back to my own childhood, I remember writing my parents notes–everything from apologies to thank you's to you-don't-understand-how-hard-it-is-being-a-teenager.  I also had a hard time being vulnerable and needed the time, without pressure, to work through my thoughts.   Although this might not work for everyone, it works for us.  For now.  I really appreciate collecting tips from others so consider this one to try out with your preteen.  If you have other ideas, I'd love to hear them!



  1. I wonder if Noah would go for this...

    1. Doesn't hurt to try! :) Koen, on the other hand, tells me everything and anything--is Adam the same?