Things have been starting to change around here.
It all started when my eldest son began complaining about having to share a room with his younger brother. It had never been an issue before, in fact, up to this point my boys hated to be separated.
That was before one of them became a tween.
Since hitting double figures, I have noticed my son’s increasing desire to spend time alone.
I was worried his teen-like desire to hole up in his room was starting far too early. However, reassuringly, this is perfectly normal tween behaviour.
It’s all part of forming their own identity and starting to separate from you,” explains Tweens2teens founder Rachel Doherty.
It is common for tweens to want alone time in their room with the door closed, particularly if there are younger siblings in the house.
It is up to us as parents to set reasonable boundaries which respect their privacy, while also keeping touch with what is going on for them.
Consider their growing independence and what works for the family unit in terms of allowing your tween privacy and space.
- Bedroom doors may be closed but not locked, with parents reserving the right to knock and enter.
- If they have social media accounts, parents have agreed upon ways to monitor their activity.
- If they want to hang out alone with friends, they must check in occasionally and tell parents if plans change.
- No-one goes through their room but it is expected to be kept relatively tidy.
Regardless of what your rules are, it is important to communicate openly with your tween about your expectations and the consequences if they don’t hold up their end of the bargain when it comes to agreed boundaries.
“Privacy is a privilege earned with trust,” emphasises Doherty. “If your tween has broken that trust you need to tighten the boundaries.”
Any breaches of trust need to be addressed promptly with an appropriate consequence. Privileges can be regained as trust is rebuilt.
Of course, there are times when a child’s safety overrides their need for privacy. It is important to keep an eye out for extreme changes in behaviour such as withdrawal from family life, changes in social circles or lack of interest in favourite activities. These signs may indicate your child is battling with an underlying problem such as bullying or a mental health issue.