They’re back in school. Do you know what your tweens are really up to? A guide for parents.
Breaking The Rules
Fifty-two percent admitted using swearwords at school. What you can do: Watch
your own language-parents are kids' greatest role models. You should also
explain that cursing can offend people or hurt their feelings. If bad language
continues to be a problem, ask the teacher to e-mail you a weekly behavior
report. Then let your child know that you and Mrs. Johnson will be in touch
Twenty-two percent admitted they've played hooky. What you can do: Ask the
school for attendance records. If your tween isn't showing up, try your best to
avoid yelling. That kind of reaction rarely translates into positive changes in
a kid's behavior. Instead, create a contract with your child to outline what
the consequences will be if he ditches class. Work together to come up with
realistic terms. This way, you'll be giving your tween responsibility and
making clear what you expect from him.
Thirty-five percent of tweens admitted turning in fake notes, whether to excuse
an absence or to give permission for a field trip. What you can do: See if the
school can keep your signature and handwriting samples on file so that
administrators will be able to detect fakes right away.
PHOTO BY ADAM GAULT/GETTY IMAGES
80% of ten-year-old girls have been on a diet
Our source: a Magellan Health Services study. Plus, in our online survey, 34
percent of the tween girls said they've cut back on their eating without
telling Mom. What you can do: Kids look to parents as examples, so don't ever
let the words "I'm so fat!" escape your mouth. Your daughters-and
sons-internalize what you say about body image, so keep criticisms in check.
You should also be careful about how often you talk about your child's looks.
Even too much praise can send the wrong message. Make sure you offer
compliments that don't always focus on appearance. What if your tween really
does have a weight problem? Take action, but don't make her feel like an
outsider. Get the whole family involved in exercise and eating well.