Childhood Fears by Age: What scares Preteens?
Awkward is a good word to describe the life of a pre-teen. These children are transitioning from grade school to middle school and their hormones are changing, their voices are changing. They suddenly are combing their hair and in the bathroom for hours. They care what they look like, they are worried about being seen with their parents. Boys and girls are beginning to develop crushes on the opposite sex. Mom and dad start worrying a little bit because their sweet young child has become foreign to them. Their looks are changing and they finally are maturing into a mini you when you were a pre-teen. Now as a parent, you must remember the fears you had so now it’s time to think about the fears your preteens might have. Here are a few challenges your preteen might have to face and this way you can make sure you are around to help offer advice and work through these fears together.
Self Esteem: The most confident kids will experience a drop of confidence in middle school because your child will suddenly be up against peer pressure. Your preteen might just feel that they aren’t as good as everyone else because they aren’t as pretty, smart, or as popular as some of the other preteens. This is when it becomes hard for you as a parent to watch your preteen deal with self-esteem issues. This is hard because you know how wonderful your child really is. You can start by encouraging your preteen to focus on their talents and best qualities and look for activities they enjoy. Don’t be too critical on yourself so you can set a good example and set the behavioral tone in your preteen. Hopefully, with a bit of luck, that self-esteem will come back once your preteen has a solid group of friends and healthy interests they enjoy.
Academic Pressure: Preteens are so young but they are already starting to feel the pressure of the high schoolers in the years gone past. Now your preteen is listening about the competition to get into a good college, get high scores on SATS amongst other academic pressures. The school staff puts some of the pressure on these preteens and believe it or not so do some parents. Don’t place too much pressure on their shoulders at a young age. Resist the thought of pushing your preteen too hard and too fast because suddenly your child will not be enjoying middle school. Your preteen is going to start dwelling on failure and they still have a lot of growing up to do. Save the college talk for when they are in high school.
Drama: Unfortunately, these are the years that start that are full of drama. Bullying and other negative anti-social behaviors peak in middle school years. It’s rough for the kids that are on the receiving end of the bullying. Popular preteens can be bullied and made out to be weird by others. Girls, unfortunately, are particularly cruel. Watch out for mean girls, frenemies, and teach your child some ideas on how to deal with this type of preteen. Teach them who they can ask for help and how to move on and get past this. We are living in a totally different world now and not all children are coming from healthy homes. Some pre-teens are angry because they are not allowed the luxury of living with their biological parents.
Temptation: Now this is the time when your child might be faced with experimenting
with smoking, drinking, drugs and other dangerous behaviors. Talk to your child, keep an open door of communication. Make sure you know who their friends are. Develop a trusting bond with your preteen. These things are just as scary to them as they are to you as a parent. There’s no right way to prevent your child from making a terrible mistake. Don’t keep nagging but make sure you keep having frequent conversations about the consequences of wrong choices. Stay in touch with other parents so you have an idea about what’s going on in your community.
Disappointment and Rejection: We all have had our hearts broken at one time or another. This is a hard time for us to watch our own preteen get their heart broken though. There’s a lot of heartaches that go along with this and this might be the first time your teen has known disappointment, heartache or rejection. All is not lost because you can help your preteen ease the pain and use some mindfulness techniques to help take his or her mind off of their troubles. Take them to a movie, go shopping, have them choose one of their favorite interests and go with the flow of this. One day soon, this will all be forgotten and nothing ever stays the same. Your preteen has moved on.