The Development from Child to ‘Tween

When you brought your baby home, you thought he or she would stay young forever… or at least until high school, right? But more and more parents are contacting their trusted psychologist in Littleton to ask where their darling little boy or girl went, and how to navigate the challenges of the little man or little woman that has replaced them! If your child has morphed from a little kid to an almost-teenager overnight, you likely have a ‘tween on your hands. Read on to find out more about what this is, why it happens, and how to survive with your sanity intact!

What is a tween, anyway?

A few decades ago, the concept of the “between” years became popular—the ages, usually between 10-12, where your child resents being called a “little” anything, and starts showing interest in adult or teen concepts. While professionals might call this time “preadolescence,” the word “tween” has caught popularity and separates this important developmental stage into one of its own.

What is happening to my child?

The ‘tween years are a time of big changes, whether we are talking about physical, emotional, cognitive, or social changes. Your child is likely going through puberty, flooded with hormones, and tasked with managing the adult responsibilities of increased self-care. School demands more as they are able to be more responsible. Friends may change, and dating becomes a pressing issue. Many people find that this stage is not unlike the “terrible twos,” and some parents will recall the familiar screams of “I can do it myself!” Your child may test boundaries that they had accepted for years, even though nothing else has changed. Why? Because they are changing, and they must renegotiate the world around them.

What can I do?

Just like any stage of parenting, your child will still continue to benefit from love, support, and clear expectations. However, your child may be more able to engage as a part of the decision-making process. Encourage this responsibility by helping your child make great choices. For example, if your child’s bedtime has always been 8 o’clock, they might suggest (or demand!) a later bedtime for middle school—even though most middle schools start earlier. Help your ‘tween work through the decision-making process by asking questions like “how much sleep do you need to be awake for your favorite class?” or “can you save time by packing your bag at night?” or other things to start a lifelong process of development.

The ‘tween years can be a challenge, but if you find that your relationship with your child is suffering greatly, or your child is demonstrating major changes at home and at school, seeking the help of a Highlands Ranch child behavior psychologist can be useful. Dr. Lazarus has helped guide plenty of kids through the ‘tween stages, watching them emerge as strong teens who grow up to be responsible, healthy adults.

Categories: Parenting Strategies


How to Get More Out of Your Therapy Experience

Successful psychologists help people everyday. Some people attend just a few therapy sessions and learn the take-home skills they need to move through challenging times, others enjoy the process and interactive experience of sharing thoughts and feelings on a regular basis. And then there are people who say “why go talk to a stranger? I never get anything out of it!” For those of you in this last group, you are not alone! As a n expert in ADHD counseling and animal assisted therapy in Highlands Ranch, Dr. Lazarus has helped thousands of people to feel better. These tips will help you to get the most out of your therapy experience, no matter what your challenges are.

Find a therapist you mesh with.

Finding a good “fit” between you and your therapist is so important. This is the person that you should be able to tell your deepest fears, darkest desires, and most embarrassing moments—so you need to feel comfortable. Interviews, phone calls, and the first session are a great way to see if you match personality-wise, and a few questions can make sure your therapist will meet your needs. Does your therapist specialize or have good familiarity with your specific concerns? Do their treatment approaches resonate with yours? There is more than one way to skin a cat, and definitely more than one way to benefit from therapy, so find what works for you. Speaking of animals, if you haven’t had luck with therapy in the past, consider animal assisted therapy. Our fluffy friends are natural therapists.

Have at least one clear goal.

Ever hear the saying “if you don’t know where you want to go, you’ll go there anyway?” Make sure you work toward what you want by having at least one clear goal. Not sure what you’re feeling? Share this with your therapist and your first goal can be “find the biggest problem in my life that I want to change.” Yes, finding a goal can be your goal! This is not to say that you can never get off-track, but working toward a common goal is rewarding and effective. If you come seeking couples therapy, you may find yourself working toward multiple goals to improve your relationship.

Communicate clearly.

Do you like something your therapist does? Hate something? Let them know! While psychologists in Littleton are experts in behavior, we are not mind readers, and everyone wants something different. If you want to talk, nearly uninterrupted, for the entire session, let your therapist know. If you’re tired of talking and want concrete skills you can practice and accomplish each day, say it! Your psychologist only knows if treatment is working or not if you tell them.

To start on your therapy process today, or just to find out more about your options, give Dr. Lazarus a call. He and his therapy dog Zeke will be happy to give you a fresh, new therapy experience that can change your life!