How Well Do You Know Your Pre-Teen?

How Well Do You Know Your Pre-Teen?
by Calgary's Child Magazine

The ‘tween years: the time you discover you can really use an owner’s manual. Don’t panic, therapist and parent educator Patricia Morgan has developed a wonderful tool to help shed some light on important issues and open the lines of communication between parents and preteens.

Patricia’s goal is to offer some useful ideas to support you in your job of parenting your pre-teen through this stage. Her quiz is designed to cover a variety of topics including: Pre-adolescent Development; Communication; Self Esteem and Emotions; Family Life; Discipline; Responsibility and Independence and Peers. To get you started, here’s an excerpt on Communication and Responsibility & Independence from her full quiz to help manoeuvre through your preteen’s developmental stages. To take the full quiz, visit www.calgaryschild.com

Pre-Teen Parent Quiz Score the following from 1 to 5:
1= never; 2= seldom; 3= sometimes; 4= most of the time; 5= always


1. Daily I communicate love and appreciation.
2. I speak respectfully and clearly using “I” statements.
3. I share my feelings openly.
4. I tell what I will and will not do.
5. My body posture matches my words.
6. My tone of voice is congruent with my words.
7. I avoid name-calling, sarcasm; lecturing, judging, put downs, yelling, advising, moralizing, catastrophizing, blaming and pleading.
8. I make my expectations clear; treatment of siblings, teachers, peers and property.
9. I ask for my child's opinion and thinking on matters from; what shall we have for dinner to the Afghan situation.
10. I engage in conversations focused on my child's interests and opinions as often as I start conversations focused on my concerns or interests.
11. I share an appropriate amount of private information with my child.
12. I do not pry with multiple questions into my child's life.
13. I listen attentively.
14. I seek to understand my child's point of view and feelings before asking to be heard.
15. I use open-ended questions to support effective problem solving.

Responsibility and Independence

1. I provide appropriate supervision for my child.
2. I make sure that my child has the skills and accepts appropriate responsibility before giving my permission for him or her to child mind.
3. I assure that my child has adequate supervision.
4. Whenever possible I do not leave my child home alone after school.
5. I minimize the time my child is home alone.
6. If my child is home alone I have put a plan in place that provides safety and connection.
7. My child has some money available to learn responsibilities around financial management.
8. I realize that even at this age my child needs reminders about manners.
9. I compromise around a messy room, arrange for a periodic clean up and know that it is not a big deal in the big picture.
10. I avoid doing for my child what my child can do for him/herself.
11. I do not get into conflict about chores. I work out an agreement.
12. I accept that typically family pets become a parent's responsibility.
13. I have taught my child how to greet guests, shake hands, answer the phone and take messages.
14. I model good manners.

How did you do? Patricia recommends, “If you feel there's room for improvement but don't know where to start, you may want to consider taking a class or reading a parenting book focusing on pre-teens.” She adds, “Why not try having your pre-teen take this test with you? You may have different opinions on how well you're doing in different areas.” For more information on upcoming pre-teen parenting classes call Family Life Education at Families Matter at 403-205-5178.

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