7 Common Questions Your Tween Might Ask

Your tween is curious about growing up so prepare yourself with answers

Your tween's questions may not always be easy to answer.
Your tween needs to know that he or she can come to you with any questions or problems that he or she might have. David Harry Stewart/Getty Images

As your child matures and inches closer and closer to the teenage years, he or she is bound to have questions. As a parent, you should prepare yourself for the many questions you tween may pose, including questions about puberty, middle school, after school activities, and much more.

While you can't predict everything your tween will want to know, the information below should help you prepare your thoughtful and supportive answers for many common questions.


1. What's Middle School Like? Many tweens are curious about middle school and how it will be different from elementary school. Middle school will present a number of challenges for your tween, such as an increase in homework, independent learning, projects and other responsibilities. But middle school also gives tweens a chance to grow, find new interests, and try out advanced courses or electives. You can help your tween prepare for middle school by checking out the school's website and attending any open houses or orientation that is offered. A tour of the school will also help your tween adjust and prepare for that very first week.  

2. Can I Stay Home Alone? Your maturing tween will eventually ask you about staying home alone, perhaps after school, while you're at work, or while you're running errands outside of the house. Younger tweens, even mature ones, probably shouldn't be left home alone, but around the age of 11 many children are ready to be left at home alone for short periods of time.

Before your child takes on the responsibility, go over safety rules, and be sure your child knows what to do and who to call in case anything happens. Be sure your tween knows how to call 911, and use the first aid kit in case of a medical emergency. Also, be specific about what your tween can and can't do while you're away.

You might consider trying out this new privilege while running short errands at first, and then building up your stay away from home as your child's knowledge and confidence grows. 

3. When Will Puberty Start? Your tween may not specifically use the word "puberty" but chances are your child will notice that his or her peers are developing and will wonder why it hasn't yet happened to him or her. While some children may develop early, which is known as precocious puberty, puberty usually occurs around the age of eight to 13 for girls and nine to 14 for boys. Assure your tween that the changes will come and let him or her know that you'll be there to help with any issues they present. A good resource may help answer any questions your child might have about the changes to come and how to troubleshoot them when they do. Knowledge will help ease any anxieties your tween might have. Be sure you let your child know you are there to answer questions. You might also suggest your tween consult with an older sibling who might also answer questions and offer good advice.


4. "Can't You Just Leave Me Alone?" Your child is approaching the teenage years and that means there will be moments of adolescent angst. Your once loving child may quickly turn into an aloof little grump pot. Your tween may be sweet and friendly one minute and annoyed and difficult the next. You'll need to get used to the emotional mood swings because they will likely increase as the teen years approach. You will probably have to figure out how best to support your child based on trial and error. May tweens may need a little time alone to sort through their mix of emotions and anxieties. Others might need time with friends. Still others may do best if they are kept busy with extra curricular activities or other hobbies. Just know that your child's moods won't always be so volatile and in a few short years you'll likely be the parent of a mature and delightful young adult.

5. Can I Get a Job? Your older child might be ready to begin earning his or her own spending money. While your tween is too young to hold down an official job, your child is probably reading to take on projects around the house for a little extra spending money. Allow your tween to weed the garden beds, organize the pantry, clean out the garage, and take care of your pets as a first job. You might even suggest your child offer to help a neighbor as a mother's helper. Other possible jobs might include helping wash and wax the car, cleaning out the closets, and helping with the family grocery shopping. 

6. Can I Go to Summer Camp? Summer camp can be a milestone for a preteen. Summer camps gives your child the opportunity to be independent, make new friends, and perhaps even learn a new skill or hobby. If your tween attends overnight camp, he or she will learn how to live with others and be responsible, all while having a lot of fun. While overnight camp experiences can be expensive, they offer your tween the chance to grow and experience things that he or she might not otherwise experience. If your child wants to go away to camp, do your research so that you pick the camp that's best for your tween, and works within your family budget. 

7. What if I Don't Make Friends? If your tween is getting ready to start middle school or is bracing for a new school year he or she might wonder if making friends will be easy. A family move may also cause your child to worry about finding a circle of friends. And making friends isn't the only challenge you tween may face. Friendships, even long lasting friendships, can change as children age. The middle school years can pose challenges to friendships as children change, grow, and develop new interests. You can encourage your child to make friends through extracurricular activities, after school activities, and other interests such as volunteerism or religious organizations.

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