Tweens: Rites of Passage

How to Empower Your Tweens

Do you have any traditions with your children during their tween years? As challenging as these in-between years can be, with the right approach they can also be enchanting, empowering, and enriching.

Typically, by the time a child is 12 years old, they are making decisions with the same level of accuracy and maturity as a 19-year-old. There are many ways we engage with our preteens. Out of habit, we can easily overlook their abilities and still treat them the same way we did when they were 5 years old. It is equally as easy to forget how young they are (especially if they are quite responsible) and expect them to mimic our decision-making process. Another approach is to give your children the education, tools, and resources they need to start making choices that matter while they are still in your home to help them process the outcomes. While this concept is easier when their decision works or aligns with what we would do, that’s not always the case. For this to work, you have to relinquish the reins even if their choice differs from what you would choose.

Start with the basics, by adopting the following three precepts when it comes to your kids: “You are the expert on you.” “You have a brain in your head.” “You want your life to work.”. ― William Stixrud, The Self-Driven Child: The Science and Sense of Giving Your Kids More Control Over Their Lives.

Around this time, those same children are capable of reading and following a recipe, building instructions, or product manuals. As easy as it is to continue to do ALL OF THE things for your children, allowing them opportunities to grow builds their confidence and fortitude.

“a low sense of control is enormously stressful and that autonomy is key to developing motivation,” ― William Stixrud

Ask yourself what you want your children to know in the various categories by the time they leave your house, then create a game plan to make it happen.


Consider all aspects of your child's health. Empower them to learn their baseline. What does it feel like to be in optimal physical, mental, spiritual, emotional, financial, and nutritional health? How does their health change with not enough sleep or healthy movement? Does eating too many sweets, dairy, or wheat impact their health? Are they easily stressed, frustrated, or excited? Do they have coping mechanisms to manage areas of struggle?

“Exercise is also critical to a state of relaxed alertness. As John Ratey showed in his book Spark, when students exercised heavily as part of their school curriculum, academic performance dramatically improved.7 Again, Finland is at the head of the class here: they mandate twenty minutes of outdoor play for every forty minutes of instructional time.” ― William Stixrud


Yes, they are tweens. I’m not proposing you throw out all of the rules. However, they can be a part of setting the rules with proper considerations taken into account. Ask them to monitor their technology usage and the impact it had on their life. Finally, watch The Social Dilemma on Netflix and select a time to go screen free to see the impact it has on your life.

The Social Dilemma is a 2020 American docudrama film directed by Jeff Orlowski and written by Orlowski, Davis Coombe, and Vickie Curtis. The documentary examines how social media's design nurtures an addiction, manipulates people's views, emotions, and behavior, and spreads conspiracy theories and disinformation, to maximize profit. The film also examines the issue of social media's effect on mental health.