Am I normal?
Do I fit in? Should I fit in?
Why do I feel the way I do?
When do I have to start worrying about taxes?
These are some of the “Important Questions on the Minds of Preteens” addressed by Rob Lehman, MD, and Julie Metzger, RN, MN, at Preteen Alliance luncheons held in October and November.
Both luncheons were extremely popular, with long waiting lists. Rob and Julie, who run a series of workshops for preteens and parents at both Seattle Children’s Hospital and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, shared insights into how preteens think.
In their talks, Julie and Rob stressed that parents should aim to reassure their preteens that the changes they are going through are normal, and offered insights about preteens, as well as suggestions for helping them through these important years.
If it’s hard to have a face-to-face conversation with a preteen – and some preteens shy away from that — try side-by-side. The car works well for this.
When talking through important issues such as puberty and relationships, have 200 one-minute conversations, rather than one 200-minute conversation. Long, one-time discussions may be less effective than short in-the-moment conversations when opportunities naturally arise.
In order to connect with your preteen, try extending your comfort zone. One example – if your preteen refuses to learn to ski, perhaps you both could learn to snowboard.