My oldest two children are 12 and 10 years and are both officially on preteen world.
When the children were being home all the time from March 2020 till September this year, I could observe them better and reluctantly at first, concluded that our current ‘rules’ (boundaries is a better word, because it teaches where to stop, whereas rules- are there to be broken) are not what they actually need.
Sooo I took a deep deep look and was inspired in how to update them by a book I want to share with you called: Masterminds and Wingmen by Roaslind Wiseman (more on that in another post).
These boundaries, have changed many times over the past 1 year and a half and we are still ironing things out. The thing is that as new things come along, we need to re adjust and find ways that are considerate for their needs and yet that give us the parents comfort as well.
I suppose our biggest challenge has been screen time boundaries. As, the only source of meeting with family and friends turned online, and as school turned online as well, screen time when up exponentially making me super uncomfortable about the whole process. I am known that I do not like much screen time, and this has been a steep curve that still challenges me daily. However, I also listened to a podcast recently by one of my mentors Casey with Dr. Elizabeth Milovidov about screen time and specifically for tweens and teens, which helped me a lot. My nearly 13 yo, now watches about 2-3 hours of screen time a day…..more in the weekend! We have been navigating this together and had many open conversations about it. The last one was actually yesterday as he realised that screen time was getting in the way of his school work and we worked out a new schedule of how this will work. This week it will be trial time, where we will both see if it is a much better fit and working or if it needs further tweaking. Way back last year, we also did a screen time agreement (you can find a free source for ideas at common sense media). Again, this is not set in stone and needs to be revised ever so often.
Rather than telling them what and when to do tasks at home, They have a list with what needs to do daily and I only remind them if the day is coming to an end and the task hasn’t been made. House chores are not optional and are not paid in this house. As part of the family, they need to contribute. During the school days, which are now in person again, they get less work to do at home but are still expected to do the bare minimum like putting their clothes away, doing their beds and helping in the kitchen. Yet this approach has been helping them grow confident and independent. If I need something done by a specific time, well I get specific! Half the battles I encountered with chores was my expectation of it being done that very second when I never said so.
Health and safety issues are mostly non negotiable and yet, if something becomes challenging, we get a conversation going to see what is getting in the way and how, if possible and needed I can help. Health and safety include nutrition, movement, sleep time and other self-care issues which children are still learning about and understanding their importance.
What boundaries do you have and how have they changes as your kids got older?