Raising my Preteen And Teen

Written By: Catherine Bikeri

18th March 2021

Imagine the list of things you feel your pre-teen and teen needs to master before they are slipping through your fingers and possibly off to boarding or high school! Maybe the list is only in your head and not written down. It might be all over your thoughts in no particular order but there is a constant nudge that time is not on your side. Sometimes you dull the thing tugging away at your conscience by saying that your child will learn it in school; or soon (if you have not yet done it) you will send them off to one of the religious or other organized camps where a more able person will talk to them.


The list might look something like this: Sex, Teen pregnancy, Drugs, Friends and Peer pressure, Bullying, Social Media, physical changes and as you may wish to add into it. I believe your time is now to prioritize and re-order talking to your child and join in your voice with everyone else who has the good of your child in mind; be it their teachers in school, innumerable mentors and coaches or your religious gathering. Every day, there occurs a change in your child, physically, emotionally and mentally. They are indiscriminately picking up information, advice, world views and values from all kinds sources: family, friends, their teachers, television, radio, social media, leaders, popular people which will eventually shape their perceptions of the world around them.


Encouraging you to talk with your child early may not be sufficient to promote the parent–child discussions that you intend to have including topics that may be considered difficult such as sex, pornography, masturbation and menstruation. You also need the knowledge, comfort, skills, and confidence to communicate effectively and keep you from avoiding these often difficult and emotional conversations with your child. Furthermore, building a secure relationship with your child increases their self-acceptance, and feeling of acceptance by their peers. They are also likely to have more reciprocated friendships and thus less lonely than children whose relationships with their parents are less secure.


At My Child My Friend, we do not aim to teach you how to parent or how to be present in your child’s life; you already are present and parenting in the very best way you know! Outside talking to your child, already you are nurturing, protecting and providing for them. We also recognize that so many have gone ahead of us in this journey and bagged precious lessons, both positive and negative while at it, we can learn from them. We also recognize that there are amongst us those who, through merit of education, experience and research, have nuggets of wisdom for us, with scientific back-up. Some have dedicated their years to work with children who are at the same age as those we are raising, and hearing from them and having opportunities to ask personalized parenting questions is such a rare opportunity.


This Program is hugely informed by feedback from parents who are raising teens and preteens. From a survey conducted in January 2021, majority of parents had expectations, fears, strengths and areas they could benefit from while learning as they raise their preteens and teens. Key among the survey findings are: 


  1. Most parents are raising at least one preteen or teen child, some have up to three or four, at the same time. The same parents feel their role is key in raising the children to become all rounded, healthy teenagers and adults. Most parents are 50% to 80% confident that they are raising  their children to become healthy, all rounded individuals in life. 
  2. Most of them have strengths such as having a close relationship with their preteen or teen, being well informed about issues affecting their child(ren), being present/available, having given them a good foundation since birth, having learnt valuable lessons from raising other children who are now older, being good communicators, confident, being open minded, being loving, caring, firm, attending trainings about preteen and teen issues, providing them teachings, spending valuable time with them, being assertive, experience working professionally  with preteens and teens, being prayerful, with integrity, having a good family support system and a great personality.
  3. As much as they have their strengths as stated above, most of them have fears that require help to manage or address. The common ones were: being too strict, not knowledgeable enough, poor communication, poor relationships, low self-esteem by their children, fear that their child will be negatively affected by peer pressure and negative social media and use drugs, engage in irresponsible sex hence get pregnant, become fathers or get Sexually transmitted infections; fear of the unknown, fear that the child confides in strangers more than family members, rebellion, co-parenting, lack of assertiveness and parent failing to provide for the child.


We are the greatest of resources if we commit to pull together and learn with and from each other. Every cent you put in the sessions in terms of ideas, lessons learnt, thoughts and opinions contribute to the bigger percentage, and eventually helps another parent who is raising a child the same age as yours. And who knows…these children grow together and they eventually become spouses, friends, business associates and world builders in the very near future. And this is how you build your legacy. This is why we are inviting you to join this train as we journey together and form lasting relationships for supporting each other through our pre-teens’ and teens’ development.


We look forward to walk together!


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