Family Ministry

advice, thoughts, and discussion

The Awkward Years

on May 15, 2012

I have one sibling. Who is 10 years and some odd months younger than me. And it’s a boy. I have a twelve-year-old brother. We get along really well, considering our age difference…except he is entering into those awkward years of life. You remember them – weird body changes, noticing the opposite sex for the first time, wearing deodorant…all strange and awkward things.  In my mind, my brother is still a cute little five-year old that says my name funny and is more innocent than an angel at Christmas. In his mind; he’s a macho, brilliant, Olympic athlete and the ultimate ladies man. Would he tell you this? Of course not (well, except for the brilliant part…and he is pretty smart, I guess). So, how do I get this representation of my little brother? His friends. Preteens love to rat each other out.

Why am I sharing all of this? Because this stage in a kids’ life is undoubtedly the most trying and the hardest to get through without some sort of physical or emotional scars.

Being a Middle- Schooler (and my friends in the Mid West say Junior-Higher) is tough! In fact, sometimes it’s miserable. Kids start picking on each other for any reason they possibly can, classes are much more difficult, there are many more extra-curricular activities and requirements, and on top of all of this…your parents don’t understand you anymore. No wonder why so many kids get into serious trouble at this age!

Some statistics about things that preteens might get mixed up in (I love statistics):

  • A majority of teens (58%) do not think posting photos or other personal info on social networking sites is unsafe. They should read the news.
  • Nearly half of teens (47%) are not worried about others using their personal info in ways they do not want (although that represents a 10-percentage-point improvement over 2006). About half (49%) are unconcerned posting personal info online might negatively affect their future. (Most employers now do a search for their prospective employees.)
  • A large majority of teens (71%) have established online profiles (including those on social networking sites such as MySpace, Friendster and Xanga), up from 61% in 2006.
  • 69% of teens regularly receive personal messages online from people they do not know and most of them do not tell a trusted adult about it.
  • Teens readily post personal info online. 64% post photos or videos of themselves, while more than half (58%) post info about where they live. Females are far more likely than male teens to post personal photos or videos of themselves (70% vs. 58%).
  • Nearly one in 10 teens (8%) has posted his or her cell phone number online.
  • Overall, 19% of teens report they have been harassed or bullied online, and the incidence of online harassment is higher (23%) among 16 and 17 year-olds. Girls are more likely to be harassed or bullied than boys (21% vs. 17%).  
  • Parental awareness of their teens’ online activities has risen significantly. This year, 25% of teens say their parents know “little” or “nothing” about what they do online, down from 33% last year.
  • 41% of teens report their parents talk to them “a lot” about Internet safety (up five points over 2006), and three out of four say their parents have talked to them in the past year about the potential dangers of posting personal info. The level of parental involvement is higher for younger teens and girls, although it has increased across all age groups and both genders.
  • Teens whose parents have talked to them “a lot” about Internet safety are more concerned about the risks of sharing personal info online than teens whose parents are less involved. For instance, 65% of those whose parents have not talked to them about online safety post info about where they live, compared to 48% of teens with more involved parents.
  • Teens whose parents have talked to them “a lot” about online safety are less likely to consider meeting face to face with someone they met on the Internet (12% vs. 20%).

Check out this site for more!

There is a balance that you need to keep while parenting your preteens. Part of this is in my last blog, parenting. But, this article should really help you understand a bit more about what your child is thinking and seeing at this age.

Also in this stage, you may become more frustrated as a parent and want some parenting ideas or little things to help get you through the day. Moms, check this website out. Dads, this one is for you. And remember, you can always come to your church staff with questions. We’re here to come alongside you and help you to be the best parent that you can, training your child up into the person that God wants them to be!

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One response to “The Awkward Years

  1. Oh, boy, it’s going to get fun around here in a few years!! Thanks for the heads up.

    The “dads” link at the end isn’t on.

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