Between the ages of nine and twelve, our sweet, cuddly little girls, who were once ready to snuggle into our laps and share their secrets, suddenly want little or nothing to do with us. A preadolescent child, aka tween, is not the same person they were a year or two ago. Physically, cognitively, emotionally, and socially, they have evolved. They’re gaining new independence and will test the boundaries set by their parents.
They may not realize that they still need you because a healthy parent-child relationship can pave the way for less tumultuous adolescence later on. But it won’t be simple since to have a good connection with this “updated” version of your child, you as a parent must respect your child’s growing demands for independence.
The following are 6 leadership strengths that every pre-teen girl should have in their life. Teaching these to tweens will empower them and set them up for success in their adolescent lives.
To be confident is to have the belief that you will succeed or have made the best decision possible in a given situation. Having confidence is a positive cycle relating to resilience, self-esteem, and self-compassion.
When pre-teen girls feel good about themselves, they can cope when things are difficult or don’t go as planned and will be more capable of trying new things and facing challenges.
You can help your tween build their confidence by helping them with the following:
Practice social skills
- Allow your child to try new things
- Encourage your child to persevere in their efforts
- Encourage your child to act confident
- Demonstrate confidence in your own abilities
- Your child’s efforts should be applauded
2. Emotional intelligence
Your child will go through social and emotional changes as they mature into adults. Parents play a critical part in their child’s development of adult emotions and social skills. For a child’s social and emotional development to be healthy, they need strong relationships with family and friends.
You can support your tween’s social and emotional development by:
- Become acquainted with your child’s friends
- Be a role model with positive relationships with your family, friends, and colleagues
- Pay attention to your child’s emotions while being honest with your own
- Talk openly about sex, sexuality, and relationships in a non-judgmental way
Resilience is defined as the ability to bounce back from adversity and revert to feeling good as before. It’s also the ability to thrive in the face of harsh situations that you can’t control. In reality, if you’re resilient, you’ll often be able to learn from adversity. At various stages of your child’s life, their resilience will rise and fall, with specific challenges easier for your child to overcome than others.
All pre-teen girls can develop resilience by focusing on the following skills:
- Social skills
- Self-respect and self-compassion
- Habits of optimistic thinking
- Abilities to get things done
According to a study that followed teenagers into adulthood, teens who have more secure familial ties have a head start on learning empathy. Contrary to common belief, research reveals that adolescence is a critical developmental period of empathy, or the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, understand and relate to their feelings, and care about their well-being. Empathic tweens are less aggressive, show less prejudice, and are less inclined to bully others.
According to the study, empathy begins with a sense of safety and connection. Pre-teens can gain firsthand empathy experience through developing secure connections marked by trust, emotional safety, and responsiveness. They can then share their empathy with others once this foundation is established.
For pre-teen girls, independence includes trying new things, taking on more responsibility, making their own decisions, and exploring who they are and what they want to be. Developing independence is an important step in your child’s path to adulthood.
You can help your child achieve independence by doing the following:
- Demonstrate your love and support to your child
- Respect your child’s emotions and opinions
- Establish clear and reasonable family rules
- Help your pre-teen in developing decision-making abilities
- Allow your tween to experience becoming responsible and independent
- Constructively resolve conflicts
6. Boundary setting
Boundaries are limitations that we set to prevent ourselves from being mistreated, manipulated, or used in some way. Boundaries serve as a declaration of self-worth, letting others know who you are, what you value, and how you want to be treated. Having a good sense of self-worth includes having healthy boundaries. Adolescents with a strong sense of self-worth understand who they are, what they value, and how they want to be treated. They also know how to identify when they are being taken advantage of or pressured to do something they don’t want to do.
Showing your child how to set boundaries when someone continues to cross a line with them is the ideal approach to dealing with these situations. You will be laying the groundwork for healthy relationships with them that will last well into adulthood.
Parents can help cultivate these leadership strengths by introducing their pre-teen girls to female leaders – those in your community or who are famous figures – to provide them with powerful role models.
These leadership qualities aren’t easy to develop, but the more opportunities a girl has to apply them, the more confident and self-assured she will feel. Finally, by instilling these qualities in your pre-teen girl’s life from an early age, she will be ready to face the world as she enters her adolescence – and beyond!