The early adolescent years, which we call being a “tweenager” (roughly from age 11 to 14), can be a challenging but also delightful time to create a stronger connection with a young person.
As always, connecting with them on things that matter for them is a great place to start. Here’s a few tips to consider for parents and baptismal sponsors:
1. Create fun rituals – while tweenagers are beginning to grow away from the home, they often also have a strong, inner security-driven desire to maintain a connection to rituals. One good ritual for families is rotating different table prayers. There are lots of them…encourage the kids to make up their own.
2. Be a role model of faith – baptismal sponsors can be especially important at this age as youth seek role models in addition to their parents. If you live near enough to a godchild, sponsors can plan a service project with their youth once a quarter.
Service projects can range from helping to deliver meals with a “Meals on Wheels” project or serve meals at a homeless food kitchen to building a house at a “Habitat for Humanity” project (NOTE: Habitat has minimum age requirements for its projects, so check with them first).
3. Tweenager boys and girls have especially quick minds that are great for puzzles, trivia, and other problem solving. In a long distance relationship, you can e-mail or mail them word games that they can solve. You can make your own cross word and word search puzzles at the Discovery magazine web site: http://puzzlemaker.school.discovery.com/.
Another word puzzle could be to send a message in a foreign language and have the youth try to translate it. If you are like us and not fluent in another language, you can create your message by using a web-based translator like Altavista’s Babelfish web site: http://babelfish.altavista.com/.
Es una idea muy buena!