The kids are in the tweenie years. This is the time when they are growing pretty good and maturing faster and not babies anymore. However, they are not quite to the teen years yet. They are somewhere in between, hence the name, tweenie. Friendships and accomplishments are becoming increasingly important. They are trying to find some basic independence from their parents. They will start to “push your buttons” more often.
It is well documented and told many times when ever the topic of physical development comes up that girls mature faster than boys. The research show an average of two years before boys do. During this time the girls may start to menstruate. Their first menstrual cycle is called menarche. Boys may start to go through puberty, but it is less likely than they will compared to girls. Again the two year physical maturity hypothesis comes into play.
When the girl starts to mature, the secondary sexual characteristics will start to appear. Instead of focusing on this here, I will devote a whole other article to this subject. They characteristics of boys’ secondary sexual characteristics will be explained in that article too.
Both boys and girls will start to develop more physical strength. They will have more manual dexterity and have better coordination time. Their reaction time will become faster but still not optimally developed yet.
These tweenies are still pretty concrete in their thinking but some abstract and logical thinking may be peeking out. The paradox comes out in their behaviors. They are more product and goal oriented, but they enjoy planning and organizing tasks. This is good because both are essential to planning, organizing, and having events and dealing with most situations. They fantasize and daydream about the future, but want everything now.
The child enjoys reading more fictional stories than non-fictional, but magazines and articles about how to do things will start to peak their interest. Hobbies and collection consume a lot of their time and they might not want to do the homework they are usually assigned. This is typical of all ages I think. I remember in graduate school, I would rather play cards than do my dissertation.
Your little guy or girl really likes to play games with more complex rules. Basketball, baseball, football, volleyball, soccer, and softball are some of their favorites. They might not enjoy freeze tag, chase, or jump rope as much as they used to.
I am unsure if the next topic is to be place in mental development or social development so I put it at the end of mental development and prior to social development. You can decide what you think. I believe it may have to do with both.
Somewhere along this time some children starts to change their goals and aspirations for the future. Whereas, before the kids wanted to grow up to be doctors, lawyers, teachers, police officers, and firemen, research sees some changes occurring. There are still those that want to be these things.
One thing is the child who is better at sports wants to become sports stars and that is not disconcerting. However, some research shows that toward the end of this period and the beginning of the next period of development, some children start to report they want to be cashiers, factory workers, and truck drivers. There is nothing inheritently wrong with any of these occupations or profession. My mother worked in a factory for more than 30 years, causing a lot of disabilities in her “Golden Years” now. My beef with this is the dreams of the child has been snatched. Either they are told or they have been led to believe they are not good enough to live up the dreams they had just a few years ago.
I do not believe this even happens intentionally. The current education system, lack of parenting skills by some parents, the lose of authority by parents and schools shifting to government, and the mentality reinforced by the government is causing some children problems they will have to live with. The government is reinforcing and accepting more and more people to have the entitlement mentality. We all will pay the price for this current scheme of government 10-15 years from now.
One final note about the research if find disturbing that I mentioned before. There were even some children who said they wanted to grow up to be drug dealers, prostitutes, and gang bangers. I am hoping they are joking, but in most jokes there is a sense of realism. A sad state of affairs.
The child is still in the Industry versus Inferiority stage that we talked about with the 6-8 year olds in my previous article covering those ages. However, now the competence or the inferiority is being reinforced. This is the reason I believe the aforementioned topic of the robbing of the goals and aspirations may have something to do with social development.
Prior to this time, the child sees their parents as defacto heroes. They seen their parents as someone who could do no wrong. Parents enjoy this I am sure. However, now in this stage of development, the parents are seen as people who have flaws and makes mistakes. They may still see them as authority figures, but learn a valuable lesson. We all make mistakes. However, they are still in the black and white thinking as to regards to rules. They do not see any room for compromise and have a low tolerance for those with a difference of opinions.
These same children will start to question the authority of adults. They will want to spend more time with their friends and “daddy’s little girl” and “momma’s little man” takes a second seat to “April’s BFF” and “Timmy’s buddy.” This can make parents a little sad, but remember you are raising adults here and not children dependent on you.
Children will start to come up with their own language to communicate. They find this secret code as something they can have to themselves or the few that are allowed in the knowing group. They will have clubs with their secret rules, rituals, handshakes, and will exclude some people. Sort of like some modern groups. As cruel as this sounds, it is for the better. Children should learn they are different. I am an advocate for letting all kids play sports and join organization, but in reality, some people just excel at some things better than others. This is a valuable life lesson. Learning this early on will let the child explore what THEY are good at and not what everyone else thinks they should be good at. Given trophies for participation is ridiculous. Equal playing time to develop skills is not. The pressure of not being up to par made Michael Jordan shoot extra shots everyday. He is now known as the greatest basketball player to every live.
The children are now tweenies, and as difficult as it is for you, these children are having more of a difficult time. Be supportive, but do not let them get away from breaking the rules. They will test you and your limits. They are master manipulators and you have to be cognizant of this. They are learning what they can get away with and what they cannot. Let them know the limits. You do not have to be hard on them, but you do have to be firm but fair.
I just noticed that when you look at the ages 9-11 and take out the dash, you get 911. Do not be afraid to call for help with these tweenies. Do not let this article or the information within be a substitute for the valuable information you can receive from your pediatrician or mental health professional. Seek the help if you need it. Their future is at stake.
Take care of yourself and each other. Make today and everyday a great day.
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