Tips to Keep Your Sanity
These tween years are the time in a child’s life when he starts to define his own place in the social order, not based on parents, but based on peers. It’s not cool to hang out with adults anymore, but the real drawback is that his peers don’t know what they’re doing, either. Add to that mix his inability to predict social interactions, a fundamental reluctance to engage peers over unfamiliar topics, and the necessity to trust that other people will be kind to him, and this Autiemom sometimes struggles not to lose her mind. So how do you keep your sanity when you worry so much that your child will get eaten alive during this time of physical, mental, and emotional upheaval?
- First, you realize that you can’t protect him from it. That preschooler who relied on your vigilance and support is now a gawky, gangly youth who is probably nearly your size, and isn’t going to come running to you every time somebody looks at him cross-eyed. You have to trust that the relationship you built when he was a young child is still strong. Reinforce for him that you are available to talk about whatever, but let him come to you.
- Don’t freak him out by dragging your memories of that age into the conversation. He’s got his own roadmap to plot out, and you’re there for support now. Also, keep in mind that there is a lot of juvenile literature about the horrors of middle school, readily available to him. Keep things as positive as possible without sugar-coating. Now more than ever, he will appreciate your compassionate honesty.