7 Keys to Manage Preadolescence from a Psychological Point of View

In order to manage preadolescence, we must also look at ourselves. This is a new stage that requires us to embrace change.
7 Keys to Manage Preadolescence from a Psychological Point of View
Maria Fátima Seppi Vinuales

Reviewed and approved by the psychologist Maria Fátima Seppi Vinuales.

Last update: 12 October, 2022

When did they grow up so much? How did it happen so quickly! These expressions show how surprised we are to find when children stop being children and, progressively, reach adolescence. Learning to manage preadolescence requires a comprehensive and complex approach, where adults must facilitate the process. Let’s take a look at some keys to do so.

7 keys on how to manage preadolescence from a psychological point of view

Pre-adolescence is the transition period that occurs between the ages of 9 and 12. In a progressive way, it implies the abandonment of childhood to start a new stage.

As with any new beginning, it requires a series of different movements in an attempt to adapt to this situation. So, let’s take a look at some recommendations to manage preadolescence from a psychological point of view.

1. Learning to respect their time and space

It’s important that you learn to decipher your kids. That is, maybe they start to need a little more intimacy and privacy, which doesn’t mean that you let them go completely. It’s about being able to find a balance between being present and not being too overwhelming or invasive.

A father and his preadolscent son talking on the beach.
Talking to your children is key to accompanying them in this process of change. It’s good to provide them with information and anticipate what may happen.

2. Talk to pre-teens about the changes they’re going through

The biological rhythms of each body are different. Some preadolescents begin to experience their first physical changes early, while others do it later. This bodily evidence also raises certain insecurities and uncertainties. Therefore, it’s best to normalize these changes, provide information, and anticipate what’s going to happen. It’s very important to know that they’re not always prepared on a psychological and emotional level for this stage. Hence the need to be able to act as a bridge and help them cope with the situation.

3. Show interest and converse with preteens

Dialogue is a tool of enormous support and help. In addition, it leaves the door open so that your kids can come to you when they have a problem, without fear of feeling judged. You need to be part of their world and avoid making certain topics taboo. It’s better for them to find answers to their questions at home. When we don’t know something, we can research it with them or get advice, but sweeping the problem under the rug will only bring a new problem.

4. Take care of the expressions you use to communicate

Many times, without realizing it, we emphasize the change they’re experiencing. You’re not my baby anymore, you’ve changed so much, you weren’t like that before! These and other phrases can trigger certain emotions. Sometimes, they combine a bit of nostalgia, and other times, a bit of complaining. It’s important that we also accompany this process with the way we communicate with pre-adolescents. In fact, one way of establishing proximity and complicity also has to do with listening to and speaking their own language. In this way, a different path for dialogue opens up.

5. Make the rules more flexible

Schedules, outings, and permissions can no longer be as they used to be. Little by little, we must allow children to begin to exercise their freedom. In any case, it must always be with responsibility and in accordance with the inculcated values.

6. Understand their mood swings

Pre-adolescence also comes with variations in emotional states. One moment, everything is fine with their friends, and the next day they don’t even talk to each other. First of all, it’s important to try to empathize with them instead of getting angry as a first reaction. Then, we should guide them on the best way to express their emotions.

A mother talking to her pre-teen daughter.
In pre-adolescence, mood swings are recurrent. It’s important to empathize with children and understand that their emotional states are variable at this stage.

7. Getting to know their friends

The peer group begins to take on crucial importance in the life of preadolescents. Taking an interest in who their friends are has a double effect: On the one hand, it’s a way to get involved and stay connected with children; and, on the other hand, it also has a preventive approach, as we can detect certain situations early on.

You may be interested in: The 7 Major Challenges Teenagers Face

Managing ourselves in order to manage preadolescence

The arrival of children in preadolescence also confronts us, as adults and parents, with a new stage in our lives. Many times, we focus on their changes and emotions, but we forget that we’re also part of the whole process.

Suddenly, we interpret this trial of their independence as abandonment and we fail to admit that, little by little, they start to open their own spaces and make their own decisions. In short, they’re shaping the path to their own identity and autonomy.

It’s absolutely necessary that we’re close to our children, but also that we allow them to make mistakes and that we don’t try to solve all their problems. Of course, we must always accompany them. As adults, this challenges us to a new role, which means mourning the previous situation: Before, these babies and children were completely dependent on us. Now, they also need us, but at the same time, they seek to set their own pace.

Managing preadolescence is a team effort, where both the well-being of the youngsters and the adults who accompany them is very important.

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