Raising Preteen Children

Proper Punishments for Pre-Teens

Purpose of Discipline

Approach parenting your preteen with an attitude of discipline instead of trying to manage behavior with punishment. When you discipline, you teach and guide your preteen to behave respectfully and responsibly. Through your firm, but loving, guidance, you instill self-control and good judgment, according to Cassandra Deas and Eboni J. Baugh, with the University of Florida Extension. Although your youngster is growing and maturing, he will still exhibit impulsive behavior and he may have trouble making positive choices without continued guidance.

Natural Consequences

Punishment has a negative connotation. On the other hand, consequences can be learning opportunities for preteens. Instead of yelling or berating your child or randomly removing privileges, use natural consequences to deal with infractions, suggests the FamilyEducation website. Natural consequences happen without any action on your part, so they can be exceedingly effective for teaching your preteen lessons about behavior. For example, if your youngster doesn’t do her homework, she’s going to experience consequences at school with grades. If a child doesn’t perform household chores, you may be too busy doing extra work to drive her to a friend’s house.

Responsibility and Reparations

Encourage responsibility by holding your child accountable for following household rules and limits on behavior, advises psychologist Laura Markham, with the Aha! Parenting website. If your preteen makes a mistake or opts to break a rule, discuss the infraction and encourage him to figure out how to make it right. For example, if your preteen doesn’t perform his household chores, ask him what he thinks he could do to resolve the infraction. Initially, you may need to brainstorm together so your youngster gets the idea of the consequences you have in mind, such as losing his cell phone for an hour while he does extra chores. Teaching your child to make reparations instills respect and the willingness to correct wrongs. It also demonstrates forgiveness as you show your youngster how to move past mistakes.

Ideas for Consequences

If your preteen becomes angry and needs to cool off, it’s reasonable to use a timeout with her, advises the American Academy of Pediatrics. The difference between this timeout and one you might use with a toddler, however, is that the premise of a preteen’s timeout is using it to calm down. Once she’s cooled off, she can come find you to continue a discussion or to resolve a problem. Restrictions also work well with preteens. You might restrict activities or restrict the use of possessions, such as a computer or cell phone, as a consequence for misbehavior. Don’t forget to praise your youngster for positive behavior, too. Positive reinforcement of desired behavior often motivates more of the same behavior.

How Often Should Preteens/Teens Get a Physical Exam?

Physical Exam Schedule for Preteens And Teens

Preteens and teenagers should have a visit to the doctor at least every year for a physical exam, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. During a physical exam, a doctor will typically check a child's nose, ears, throat, eyes, legs and arms to see whether development is normal, according to Boston Children's Hospital. A doctor can also check your child's genitals and breasts during a physical exam, according to WebMD. This time provides the opportunity for your child to discuss any concerns he might have about his health, such as discussing safe sex practices, according to KidsHealth.

Physicals for Athletes

When preteens and teenagers wish to play a sport, they might be referred to the doctor for a sports physical, according to KidsHealth. These exams might be necessary whenever your child begins a new sport, or they might occur again during the sports season. A doctor can check a child's height, weight, blood pressure and lungs, and your child's strength and flexibility. However, a sports physical should not replace your child's yearly physical exam, which tends to be more thorough.

Preparing and Going Through the Visit

Physical exams can be uncomfortable and anxiety-inducing for teenagers and preteens. Planning before you visit can help you and your teen make the most of your time with the doctor, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Writing down questions or symptoms your child might be curious about can help you remember to get an answer while you are in the office. Preteens and parents can also ask the doctor to explain what he is doing, and his reasoning for doing it, throughout the exam to relieve anxiety.

Additional Information

While a physical exam is important for picking up on health problems, a doctor might not know about certain risks or conditions unless your preteen mentions it. Problems with anxiety or depression might not be obvious to the doctor during the duration of a visit. Parents and teens might want to take notes during a physical exam or ask for resources, websites or pamphlets related to a physical exam, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Parents might also want to step up and ask questions on behalf of their child, who might be too embarrassed to mention certain symptoms or concerns.

Multivitamins for Preteens

Types of Multivitamins

Depending on your preteen's taste and situation, there are different vitamins to consider. The Mayo Clinic suggests that most children who are eating well do not need multivitamins, but that if you are going to give your child one to make sure it is one meant for your child's age range. Preteens can take gummy multivitamins that are flavored and can be chewed, ones that are swallowed whole, or the liquid form that is taken with a spoon or dropper or can be mixed with food or drink. Some preteens will balk at the idea of a chewy vitamin as being for little kids, but they may be a good idea if they don't swallow pills yet. HealthyChildren.org suggests that it's important young people get enough of the vitamins A, C, D, the B vitamins and iron, especially. Most multivitamins contain these vitamins, as well as folic acid and calcium.

Check With Your Child's Doctor

Talk to your child's doctor to make sure it's OK for her to take a multivitamin. For most kids there is no issue, but certain medical conditions or medications can interfere with vitamins, so it's always a good idea to talk to the doctor for opinions and to get his clearance. Your child's doctor can also tell you if over-the-counter vitamins are fine or whether a prescription would be better.

Make a Routine

Once your preteen starts taking a multivitamin, it's important to keep it up. To make sure he does, make it a part of his routine; for example, have him take it with breakfast or after bathing at night. In addition to the benefits of the multivitamin itself, remembering to take it is a good first step for your preteen in taking care of himself and showing personal responsibility.

Healthy Habits

In addition to taking a multivitamin, there are other healthy habits you should be working on with your preteen. For example, make sure your preteen gets adequate sleep at night. Encourage him to get regular exercise, either through sports or by walking or biking on his own. Do your best to encourage him to drink plenty of water and low-fat milk and to eat a diet rich in lean protein, vegetables, fruits and whole grains, suggests FamilyDoctor.org. Help your preteen to discover hobbies and interests, and encourage socialization with family and friends as well. Make sure your preteen knows the importance of schoolwork and develops good study habits that will give him the best shot possible at a bright academic future.

Behavior Modification Models for Parents of Preteens

Skills Building

It is necessary to teach your preteen the skills that you want him to display at home and school if you expect him to demonstrate appropriate behavior. It's easy to assume that your preteen knows better than to speak defiantly to you or to his teacher, but your child may exhibit this behavior in an attempt to release anger that has not been properly managed. Teaching your child appropriate coping skills, including deep breathing as a calming strategy or journaling as a way to express and release frustrations, can help modify unwanted behavior.

Rewards

Offering rewards is a viable way to shape your child's behavior. Common rewards include allowance, prizes and verbal praise. Rewards teach your preteen that there are benefits to demonstrating appropriate behavior, and encourage your child to think twice before engaging in unacceptable practices. Give your child rewards for accomplishments such as achieving honor roll status in school and redirecting disrespectful behavior over the course of one month.

Consequences

Your child should have a clear understanding that when she demonstrates inappropriate behavior, there will be consequences. Consequences should generally fit the nature of the inappropriate act, such as not being allowed to go out with friends to an event for failure to complete a given task in the home. This teaches your preteen that when you ask her to do something, you expect her to complete the task, and will issue a consequence for failure to comply. This practice shapes her behavior so that she will think again before she chooses not to listen to you in the future, especially if she would like you to do something for her as well.

Modeling

The best way to teach your child appropriate behavior and to modify unwanted behavioral patterns is to demonstrate the desired behavior in your own life. If you want your child to be respectful toward others, then it's important that you speak kindly to people. It will be difficult to tell your preteen not to drink alcoholic beverages if he sees you getting drunk every night. Try to be the best example of model behavior for your preteen to emulate into adulthood.

How to Introduce Pre-Teens to Missions

Teach your preteens about the concept of missions. Talk about what missionaries do. Explain that they leave their homes to share the good news with others by preaching, teaching and providing practical help such as digging wells and opening medical clinics. Keep your teaching interactive, asking your preteens what they think it would be like to be a missionary.

Explore the cultures to which the missionaries your church supports minister. If your local church doesn't directly support missionaries, you can get this information from your denomination's website or by calling their headquarters. When talking to your kids about cultures, include information about the lifestyles, dress, food and language of the people to whom your church sends missionaries. If your preteens show special interest, encourage them to learn the basics of the languages of those cultures by using language learning websites such as livemocha.com.

Encourage your preteens to choose a missionary with whom to correspond. They can write letters or emails to the missionary, asking any questions they might have about the culture he serves and how he works with the people of that culture. Most missionaries are happy to take a few minutes to share what they're doing when kids ask questions. Once your kids build a correspondence relationship with a missionary, consider asking him to talk to your kids via Skype during Sunday school.

Involve your preteens in raising funds for missions. A good way to do this is to have a car wash, can drive, or other activity that involves the preteens actually doing some work themselves to raise the funds. Have your preteens ask the missionary about specific needs for which they can raise funds. Knowing that they are raising funds to help build a well or to provide books so kids can go to school is more concrete and real to preteens than simply sending money without knowing for what it will be used.

Take or send your preteens on a mission trip. In addition to whatever missions programs your church or denomination may offer preteens, nondenominational organizations like Teen Mania offer preteens the opportunity to serve in age-appropriate missions programs, both domestically and abroad.

Teach your kids to view their everyday environment as their missions field. While it's great to travel the world to exotic places to serve others and share the gospel, there are people next door or in the desk beside them at school to whom they can also minister.

Tip

When missionaries visit your church, invite them to speak briefly with the preteen class.

When learning about other cultures, preteens are often particularly interested in the lives of the kids their age.

How to Make Shots for Pre-Teens Hurt Less

Bring something such as a book or a gaming device from home. Then, if your child has to linger in the waiting room at the medical clinic, she can keep her stress level at bay with the power of distraction. This can help her from becoming tense before the shot.

Advise your preteen to find something in the room to focus on -- when he's about to receive the shot -- as a distraction. Tell your child to study the details of a painting -- such as counting flowers and other images -- or creating as many words as possible from lettering on a sign in the room, as suggested on the Akron Children's Hospital website.

Tell your preteen to relax her arm, and to take a deep breath and hold it just as she's about to get the shot. Advise her to blow out the air from her deep breath while the medical professional gives the shot to lessen the sting. As an alternative, your preteen can cough as the shot is given, which may also help her feel less pain, according to the Akron Children's Hospital website.

Tip

Advise your child to tell the medical professional giving him the shot that he's worried about pain. She may have some helpful tips.

Give your preteen ibuprofen after the shot to lessen the pain of a possible sore arm.

Warning

Some preteens may experience fainting after getting a shot, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Encourage your preteen to sit or lie down for approximately 15 minutes after the shot.

Summer Activities for Preteens

Summer Camps

Perhaps the most common activity available to preteens is summer camp. A variety of summer camps are available, which means a parent easily can match a summer camp with one of their preteen's interests. Camps are available for kids who enjoy science, sports, drama, music and writing. To find out which summer camps are offered in your area, contact a local college or the Chamber of Commerce. Many colleges provide summer camps for preteens.

Community Service Projects

Preteens who aren't interested in going away to camp might enjoy devoting their time to a community service project. This can include volunteering at an animal shelter or nearby hospital. Many 4-H organizations offer summer programs with a focus on community service. Additional options include spending time with the elderly in a nursing home, bringing donated toys to sick children or mowing lawns for shut-ins. You might also want to contact a church to see whether your preteen can volunteer there. Churches often have food pantries and thrift shops that need assistance.

Summer School

Many elementary schools stay open during the summer to offer classes for students who need to spend more times on their studies. Most of these schools also offer enrichment programs that will keep preteens busy for the majority of the day. These programs can include activities in home economics, wood shop, music lessons, arts and crafts, marine biology, computers, sports and language immersion.

Library Programs

A library is the perfect place to go if you don't have enough money to sign your child up for a summer camp. Almost all library programs are free, and plenty of summer activities are offered for preteens. Although each library differs in what it can offer, most have a reading program, summer math club, crafts, game nights, movie nights and computer classes.