The Challenges Faced By Tweens Today – And How To Help Them

Katie Kirby is a best-selling author and illustrator. She is also known as Hurrah For Gin. To celebrate the launch Lottie Brooks’ Catastrophic Friendship FailureIn her second book in this relatable series for teens, Katie, who is now a mom to an 11 year-old, discusses the challenges facing young tweens…

“I remember being a teenager as a very difficult age. One minute you’re playing happily with your Sylvanian Familys and the next, suddenly, the rug is pulled out from under you.

“You are taken from your safe primary school to a large secondary school where you are expected behave like an adult. Everything feels like it’s changing; your friends, your interests, your moods, and your body.

The safe haven you once found in the company of hedgehogs and bunny rabbits has been replaced by a host new anxieties. Are I popular enough, cool enough, and what should I wear? OMG I’ve got a spot!

“It was hard in 1990s, but it is even harder today for tweens. Back then, we had the advantage to disconnect. The pressure is 24/7.

Social Media

“Any parent of a child approaching double digits will be asked” ‘When can I get phone?’Multiple times per day. They reluctantly give up and the question is asked again. ‘Can I get Instagram/TikTok/Snapchat?’

‘Anything I ask my 11-year-old to do – brush your teeth/get your shoes on/take a shower – seems to take about 10 times as long as it should do because of the need to watch an INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT reel of a panda rolling down a hill.

‘If I try and shimmy things along, I’m met with moans of BUT IT’S NEARY FINISHED MUM!

‘Except it’The reels are never finished, they just keep reeling.

“We need to make sure that our children are not exposed to screens in their home. I’m worried that they won’t know how to harness their creativity when they’re bored.


‘I don’I don’t think that much has changed in this regard. Crushes are as all consuming as they ever were and the opportunities to make a complete idiot of yourself in front of them is as real as it’s ever been.

“The difference is that if your feet trip over something, you go flying down the corridor and end at the feet or the boy you like, with the skirt over your head, there is probably somebody there filming it, tweeting it, or snapchatting to the entire school.

‘I have very few photos from my high school years, and in many ways I’m pretty glad about that.’

Looking ‘cool’

“I cannot believe how cool these kids look these days. When I was 11, the best I could hope for was rustling though a bin bag of my cousin’s hand me downs for something vaguely OK looking, or convincing my mum to spend £3 on a new pair of cycling shorts from the market (complete with hot pink neon stripe, naturally).

‘I just don’I don’t think we were that generation. ‘cool’That was perfectly fine.

‘Now it’There are all kinds of brands, including the most expensive, as well as the latest Air Force 1s and contouring. The pressure to look a certain way must be quite overwhelming so I think it’s important to try and counteract the perfect images our kids see on Instagram with the message that ‘It’s OK to be yourself’ and help them realise that everything is online is highly filtered and edited.’

Mean Girls/Boys

‘I think this is one of biggest challenges faces today’Tweens are those who cannot switch off and escape.

“Before social media and smartphones, all arguments and fallsouts were left at school gates. Hopefully, they will be forgotten by tomorrow and you can all move in together. It’s not that simple now.

‘Kids can message each other 24 hours a day and often in large WhatsApp groups. Do you ever look at your child’Is it possible to shock your phone with 327 WhatsApp notifications? How is that possible?!

“The problem with gossip is that it spreads like wildfire, and malice as well.

‘We have a no phones in bedrooms rule in our house and I think it’It is important to monitor what your children are doing online if there is suspicion.

‘Everyone needs downtime and if it’s difficult to find that balance as an adult, then it’s near on impossible for a kid. Even though the kids may be upset about it, it’s important to let go and enjoy your family time. ‘nice walk’They enjoy it more than what they think.

Find your tribe

‘It’There is no need to be all doom.

“Yes, we need to be aware of what our kids are doing online and how long they spend staring at their phones, but one of the best benefits of social media is the opportunity to connect with others who share your thoughts, feelings, or experiences.

‘It’It’s easier than ever to find new hobbies, interests, and learn new skills. There are many online resources that can help you find hobbies and new skills. It’s never been easier to find your tribe, no matter how niche it might be.’

Lottie Brooks’ Catastrophic Friendship Failure (Puffin) Now Available

Source: The Challenges Faced By Tweens Today – And How To Help Them

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