Why I love tweens

Tweens are kids between the ages of 9-13.  I almost have three children in this age group.

Why do I like this age?

They aren't teenagers yet and desperate to get away from their parents and family.  They aren't grumpy and moody all the time.

But they aren't toddlers and can do so much for themselves.  They can get themselves dressed.  They can get food for themselves. They can take themselves to the toilet.  You don't have to watch what they're up to every 5 seconds.  You can have a conversation with them about something that is real.  They can pack their own bag to go away.  They can make a salad when you're desperate for help at dinner time.  You can laugh about things together.  You can talk about things you're interested in together.  They are funny and entertaining.

So when I went to a conference for work on tweens I was disappointed at how negative other children's librarians were about this age group.  They'd like them to all be good at reading, quietly sitting in the corner minding their own business.

Instead the speaker told us that they like physical activity, socialising with their friends and food.  None of which are particularly compatible with libraries!

I know that tweens are great but I think that some of the problems we have in the library with this age group are because some parents treat their tweens as teenagers - and they're not.  They aren't that independent yet, and even though they like some freedom, they still need lots of active participation and interest by parents in their lives.


Meredith said…
I often commented to parents (as a primary school teacher) that the time of children being between 9 and 11 is the golden era. For all the reasons you suggested. And indeed the parents of children in this category were the ones who looked the most relaxed. They were through the young years and knew how their children were faring at life and school. The parents of 12 year olds seems to start worrying again as high school loomed.

How nice, school issues aside, to consider a slightly wider window of golden years. And you are right - it is an absolutely great time of life for kids and for the adults in their lives.

Great post!
Jenny K said…
I so resonate with so much of what you write! (I think we have quite similar families and interests!) I have 2 boys in that age range and love that there is more freedom for discussion and laughter. I also have one who is 15 and is also much like that. She isn't interested in a lot of the things her friends are into (she hardly ever checks FB!!) and has been a dream teenager. I agree that boundaries are still very necessary but they change as they get older and you explain your reasons and there is a deeper level of understanding. I also lead the girls group at church (8-12yo) and love that they are not jaded but still willing to be involved and excited about all that is taught and done! It's a GREAT age(except maybe in libraries for some!)
Karen said…
Our eldest child will turn 9 in around a month's time, and he is already starting to show some of the characteristics you're talking about. I am finding this stage very interesting and, dare I say it, more enjoyable than dealing with the 6 year old who is at the height of back-chatting and challenging parental authority.
I have heard other parents talk about this stage as being a "pre-hormonal golden age" of parenting, so I feel very excited to be almost into it! And then I remember that we still have a fair bit of hard work to do on the toddler preschool front to go....
Deb L said…
My favourite age to teach! Although I like the early teens too.
Su Williams said…
I have been trying to get a group of 14 year olds interested in reading (my roll call class). It was a battle just to get them to bring a book to school. Now I am reading to them every morning, we just started 'Howl's moving castle' by Diane Wynne Jones.
simone r said…
I want this stage to go on forever.

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