Got a Tween? Holly Budde Discusses the Challenges of Parenting Tweens! by Elisa Schmitz
If you have a tween in your home, you have most likely discovered the unique challenges this age set represents. 30Second Mom contributor, mom of two daughters and tween expert Holly Budde is currently in the thick of tween life. She frequently hosts tween gatherings at her Texas home in addition to being a full time real estate agent. Holly shares her revelations about the intricacies of this particular stage of life, and relays her passion about remaining connected with her daughters during the tween years.
Q: In your “house of tweens,” what is one the one thing you find most challenging?
A: I have several things, and the first is communication. In order for my tween to be open and honest with me, I have to remain approachable. Discipline is another challenge. She is testing her boundaries in small ways. I learned idle threats will put her in control. Emotional and physical changes associated with puberty. Tweens are dealing with stress of all kinds. Sometimes a break and a little patience goes a long way to help her relax.
Q: Do you find she’s more in tune to pop culture and peer pressure?
A: Absolutely! Friends are their No. 1 priority. Time with her friends is important at this age, but there is also a balance with family. It’s at this age they are independent enough to leave alone, but I don’t very often. I think this is also an age they are vulnerable to trouble. Pop culture still makes girls think they are all fat! And trends determine your friends. I guess that will never change.
Q: Speaking of pop culture, do you see body image issues in this group?
A: My house is full of tween girls. “Fat” is a common word. I have spent some time educating them to avoid fad diets already. As parents, our kids self-talk is our responsibility. I’ve challenged myself to find positive words to communicate with her. I try hard to build her confidence. Let her try new things, and yes: sometimes that means let her fail on her own.
Q: Have you ever asked your tween what is most difficult in her day?
A: That makes me laugh. I asked her and three friends before this interview. They all replied “my mom.” They are faced with schedules and social issues on their own during this age for the first time. Puberty begins. I have had more than one awkward conversation. Yet, I was proud she came to me!
Q: How do you deflect some of her stress?
A: Often, her moodiness is hormonal. I can step away, revisit the issue later, and get a completely different response. I allow her new freedoms as long as she continues to abide by the rules. It seems cliché, but diet, exercise and sleep are very important to their development at this age. It’s not easy!
Q: Do you have advice for other parents just entering this phase?
A: Have a set of standards that they know you will never break. Pick your battles. They are going to make mistakes, they are not all worth getting upset over. I am mom first and then friend. Some days she is angry and “hates” me. That is OK with me.
Q: What do you do with her to keep you two close?
A: We have a lot of fun. I’m open to her having yard sales, snow cone stands, etc. Just clean up! I often have the neighbor kids here, because I know what she’s doing. To her, I’m “cool” to allow them here. Like any relationship, admit when you’re wrong. If I mess up, I say so. She has that freedom, too.
Q: What is the best part about being mom?
A: I enjoy the day-to-day little things the most. I find it challenging and rewarding all at once. No matter what happens on any given day, at night they are just kids in their PJ’s, lounging in my living room before bed.
Q: What is the best advice you have been given as a parent?
A: They aren’t perfect, don’t try to make them perfect – just make them behave.
Q: What is your favorite recipe?
A: In the summer I like to grill. My favorite thing to grill right now is Hawaiian Chicken Kabobs. Cut chicken and veggies in chunks. I use zucchini, onions, bell peppers, mushrooms. You can use any veggie that you have. Use fresh pineapple, too. Baste in fresh pineapple juice and low sodium soy sauce as it cooks. Mix any herb in the marinade you wish. My two favorites, pineapple sage or citrus basil, are both from my herb garden. It’s done in a few minutes, easy clean up, and a light, filling meal for the heat. (You can use leftover chicken in salad the next night).