One very important piece of information that I have learned while parenting a tween is this: It is important to let your tween know you trust them. Often times I see many parents of tween-age children make the same very common mistake that I did in thinking their tween is not trustworthy simply because they do not approach us the same way as they once did. However, often times the only crime they are committing is the simple fact that they are changing. The importance of trusting your tween is something that should not be overlooked.
Let me explain.
When our daughter first began making the transition from child to tween, she went from a very talkative little girl to a more reserved young lady. Initially I thought her silence indicated that she was hiding something. I made the mistake of not praying about it and acting off of my own understanding based off of her previous behavior - and this caused a period of awkwardness between my daughter and I. To make matters worse, we were smack dab in the middle of my husband's 5th year-long deployment to a combat zone. So not only was I a tired momma, but both my daughter and I were missing my husband (her father) like crazy. As time went on, my methods were not working, I was not trusting her and she was no longer trusting me. I was desperate for God to intervene and show me what I needed to do to win back my daughter's trust.
After a couple of weeks of being on my knees before the Lord, I heard my answer. It was as clear as day, "Carlie you need to let Hannah know that you trust her." These words triggered the conviction in my heart - and it was as if I was just hit with a ton of bricks - taking my breath away. I reveled in that moment, realizing that only God's infinite wisdom can show us the "right" way to parent. After crying tears of repentance and joy, I filled my heart with God's Word and set off on a quest to show my daughter just how much I really did trust her. Because the truth is, I do.
The enemy will look for any opportunity to come in and reek havoc in our relationships with everyone important in our lives. This is exactly why it is so important when it comes to our ever-changing tweens - to let them know that despite all of the changes they are going through - we still trust them. Of course I am not saying that if they do something that is untrustworthy to still give them trust in that area, as I understand that is something that must be earned back. However, I am saying that if we do not give them the opportunity to show us how responsible they are, they will never get the confidence they are seeking for this season of their life which they find in knowing their parents trust them.
In my last article, "5 Ways to Minister to Your Tweens Heart," I outlined some ways that you can love on your tween while continuing to build their trust. Life is ever-changing, but thankfully the God we serve is not. I implore you, if you are going through a rough period with your tween, to make sure that this important element of trust is examined as it may just hold the key to the door that is locked in your relationship. While there are other important elements in our relationships with our tender tweens, I know that what God has shown me in this area of trust holds major weight in how they will come out on the other side of this season of life.
Pray for me as I pray for you. We can do this together with Christ as our guide!