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Monday, December 28, 2015

Just Ask Joyce: Ask Questions of Your Tween

Q: “I can’t get my pre-teen to talk to me. We’ve always been close, but now that she’s growing up, she doesn’t want me in her world. It breaks my heart, but more than that, it scares me to death. Is there something I’m missing?”

Joyce: Welcome to the testy tweens! It happens to the best of us. It could be that her circle of friends has expanded, and Mom isn’t that cool any longer. It’s possible that she is starting to embrace her identity and needs some space. The possibility exists, however, that she is discussing things with her new friends that you wouldn’t approve of. Which is it? You won’t know, but you’re on the right track — you’re asking questions.

First, I would encourage you to not panic, but do remain vigilant. If she has a cell phone already (she likely does), check her texts. Let her know you will be doing that randomly with her knowledge. Then, when she doesn’t know you’re checking, see what her conversations have been about. Rule of thumb: Parents need to trust with a dose of reservation. When kids know you’re an investigator, they know you care.

Number two, if she doesn’t talk, perhaps she’ll write. Start a journal with her. You ask the first question: “What was your biggest concern at school today?” She might respond; she might not. And if she does, it could be generic. But keep it up. Respond back with, “When I was 12, I remember when a friend of mine....” Now you’ve become relational. You’ve alerted your daughter that things haven’t changed that much since you were her age. Communication should return between the two of you. But should the lack of communication continue, become even more vigilant. It’s a tough world out there.

Change your life … NOW! Write Joyce Oglesby, Family-Life Fix-It Pro, at Check out her books and other resources at Listen to her live talk show Monday through Friday on WFIA 94.7fm/900am at 3pm.


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