5 Things Parents of PREteens MUST Do

Are you a parents of a preteen and wondering what the next stages in life are going to look like?  Let me give you a hint – way too much of it depends on you – as the parent.  

Here are some steps to make the teen years an amazing time of growth and adventure and maturity – and not the typical chaos so many experience:

  1. Date your son or daughter
    Go to the movies, on a walk, out to dinner, a hike, picnic, paint balling, golfing, a bike ride, etc.  
  2. Change your discipline techniques (they are older now and need more age appropriate consequences)
    They are not 7 anymore.  Adapt your approach, which often means more intentionally severe consequences – it must hurt sometimes (not physically) for them to learn.  Remember you are leading them towards adulthood.
  3. Go on a retreat with your preteen and complete the Passport to Purity with them
    This is a 3 day 2 night outing with steps to follow, audio to listen to – and the audio by Dennis and Barbara Rainey does the teaching, and activities to complete and adventures to be had.  My eldest son and I went to the coast and went golfing and stayed in an RV.  My middle son and I went to a place up in the mountains that had zip lines and a climbing wall and tomahawk throwing and we stayed in a tent.  These are great memory makers as well.  
  4. Give them freedoms that allow them to test the world (within reason)
    Let them take risks.  We have watched our preteen son take the bus around town.  My wife at times has followed the bus to watch from afar.  Eventually you let go and must trust them.  These small victories are life changing for a growing maturing young man or woman. 
  5. NO allowances – Commissions – teach them the value of work and pay (and tithing and saving)
    As Dave Ramsey says – let them earn it.  They must learn that you are not their money tree.  A valuable statement I learned years ago was to NOT say “we can’t afford it” – rather to say “We choose to NOT spend our money that way.” – this is freeing.  
  6. Go on adventures with them (as a family or just you and your preteen)
    Get outside.  Go as a family.  Camping!  We love to go snowshoeing, skiing, sledding, to the coast, bike riding as a family, kayaking, or float down a river in inner-tubes, and out favorite – cross country road trips tent camping across the US.   

I hope these ideas are helpful.  Also – do some of these things with other families that have kids the same age.  

Be proactive and intentional as you lead this young man or woman into and through adolescence and into adulthood.  I hope even the hardest times of this stage of life are better because of your implementing the above strategies.  Lead well. Lead intentionally. 

Dr. Gilbert


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