Tweens Thinking And Decision Making

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One of the most important aspects of tween psychology is the development of skills needed for managing their own lives, making good choices, and becoming self-reliant. At this in-between stage tweens are leaving the familiar surroundings of elementary school, and entering middle school where their decision-making and independence will be tested every day. The way tweens think, feel and act during these pre-teen years will play a large role in how they develop as teenagers and adults. During these transitional years, tweens begin spending more time with their peers, rather than under the constant supervision of their parents.

Tweens and decision making

As pre-teens develop their thinking skills, they learn to weigh their options when faced with a decision. Unlike when they were children, tweens have the ability to look ahead and think about the consequences of their actions. They may even ask the advice of their parents or other adults, worrying about making the wrong decision. Encouraging them to do so while leaving them more room to make their own decisions is sometimes hard for parents and educators. Leaving them more freedom in their decision-making, at this stage, is critical to building their self-reliance. Tweens will learn to think ahead and make positive choices by trusting adults’ advice only if the adults show clearly that they trust the tween’s judgment. Adult advice must be given as a smooth guidance towards the best answer(s), not by providing the answer(s). By the time tweens have reached their late teens, they will have acquired the self-reliance needed to much more often make decisions on their own.

Tweens and peer pressure

Psychologists have spent a lot of research time on the manipulative behavior that peers have on tweens. Tweens who feel rejected by peers often act out aggressively or with negative behaviors. Friends and classmates have an enormous influence on their self-esteem. Tweens want to be liked, so they copy the behavior of their friends, or agree with their opinions – even when they know it’s the wrong thing to do. At this age, they will still listen to parents, so it is critical that parents open a dialog with their tween about what’s going on and the pressures that he or she might encounter from peers. This is the way to avoid negative behaviors that peer pressures may convince them to act upon. Peer pressure is a strong influence on tweens (and teens), so parents must remain vigilant.

What parents can do to help

Although tweens are beginning to see that their parents are not always right, they mostly will still welcome their guidance. This time of transition before tweens become full-fledged teenagers is critical for developing critical thinking and decision-making skills. The following tips for parents and educators can help tweens develop into well-adjusted and responsible teenagers:

  • Be clear and consistent in your expectations for your tweens. Talk about what you expect from them, discuss the rules you expect your tweens to follow and values you expect them to emulate. Communicate with each other and ask your tween’s opinion regarding your expectations, and explain why you want them to follow certain rules.
  • If your tween rebels against the rules you have set, remain calm. Anger never helps; in fact, it will only make matters worse. Have an open discussion about the reasons your tween rejects your rules and values. Be a good listener and your child will be more willing to cooperate.
  • Involve your tween in the decision-making process. Offer guidance. Begin with easy decisions that involve your pre-teen’s life, such as hairstyles, bedroom organization, clothes choices, the activities they want to participate in, and their bedtime. Allowing your tweens to make easy decisions, will give them the confidence to make important decisions later in life.

 

But let be clear here. The point of this post is particularly on the transitional period that pre-teenagers encounter, though don’t expect that when your kid become a teenager, he or she will be fully rational and wise about his or her decisions, and that you will have achieved that step. . . . Are we all the time, even as adults?

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