As teen behavior and exposure to the world comes earlier to our children, this article from the AP offers up some advice that is both timely and relevant (especially for those of us who are raising them!):
By The Associated Press
Sat Nov 25, 12:03 PM ET
• SET LIMITS. "As parents, we can't control what's out there," says Dr. Liz Alderman, a parent and adolescent medicine specialist at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City. "But you can say, 'You can't go to an R-rated movie.'"
• THINK "TEACHABLE MOMENT." You can't shield them from everything — but you can help them process it. "Even as a parent, I'm not banning all these things from my kids," Alderman says. "I should have some trust in them. But I also have to let them know it's how to act. As parents, we need to convey to our kids our own family values."
• PICK YOUR BATTLES. "You don't want your child to be so out of the loop in terms of peers. But you don't want to raise the white flag and give in either," says Tom Plante, a parent and psychologist from Menlo Park, Calif. "So where do you pick your battles? And what do you go along with? It's a balance."
• CREATE A CIRCLE OF LIKE-MINDED PARENTS. Experts agree that there's power in numbers, and that it's easier to keep limits in place when you have support.
• STAY CLOSE. "One of the things I'm realizing is the better relationship the kids have with their parents and the immediate circle of friends, the more they're able to find alternatives to those (violent and sexual) messages," says Diane Levin, professor of human development and early childhood education at Wheelock College in Boston.
For another good AP article that elaborates on this evolution, see: "10 is the New 15 as Kids Grow up Faster"
And here's a great blog that discusses many of the issues associated with raising a tween: ClubMom