Why tweens pull away from parents

See JoAnn Deak, PhD's video on Why tweens pull away from parents...
Why tweens pull away from parents | Kids in the House
KidsInTheHouse the Ultimate Parenting Resource
Kids in the House Tour

Why tweens pull away from parents

I love the word "tween" to describe somebody who's on the verge of adolescence, but not quite out of childhood yet. It really means their, kind of, amphibious. I like to view it as a butterfly coming out of the cocoon. When the butterfly comes out of the cocoon, that's like a child becoming a tween and starting to stand on their own. They don't want to talk to us, they don't want to listen to us, or even think we are as brilliant as we used to be. The purpose, like a new butterfly, is to be able to soon, spread their wings and be an adult. The problem is, to use the butterfly analogy, when the butterfly comes out of the cocoon, it's wet. It's not adult yet. If you touch it, it will either never fly or it will die. It's most fragile. Tween years are most fragile because they are leaving childhood. They are pushing us aside, which they need to do, they are starting to believe we don't know everything, which they really need to do or they won't become an adult. At the same time, they are not an adult and they need us. What I want for us all to do is find ways of staying connected while we're being disconnected. Find something that's a passion, for instance, something that the two of you still do together; horseback riding, watching some movie on TV, something that keeps the connection there during periods of, at least, once a week, if not every day. Let the other stuff start to pull away from you because they will start to talk less, they will do less. Find the umbilical cord that will still keep working, no matter how much they are becoming the butterfly.

See JoAnn Deak, PhD's video on Why tweens pull away from parents...


Expert Bio

More from Expert

JoAnn Deak, PhD

Psychologist & Author

JoAnn Deak, PhD, has spent more than 30 years as an educator and psychologist, helping children develop into confident and competent adults. The latter half of that period has also focused on working with adults, parents and teachers in their roles as guides or ‘neurosculptors’ of children. On her website is a quote that best describes her perspective on her work: “every interaction a child has, during the course of a day, influences the adult that child will become.”

Parents and educators at schools from New York to Hawaii, as well as such organizations as the National Association of School Psychologists, the National Association of Independent Schools, the Association of International Schools, the American Montessori Society and the International Baccalaureate Association, have heralded Dr. Deak’s ability to demystify complex issues of child development, learning, identify formation and brain research.

Dr. Deak has been an advisor to Outward Bound, a past chair of the National Committee for Girls and Women in Independent Schools, on the advisory board for the Center on Research for Girls (Laurel School), for the Seattle Girls’ School, Bromley Brook School, the Red Oak School, Power Play and GOAL. She consults with organizations and schools across the United States. Most recently, she has worked internationally with schools, organizations, associations and parent groups in every continent (except Antarctica!) She has been awarded the Woman of Achievement Award by the National Coalition of Girls’ Schools, was given the first Female Educator of the Year Award by Orchard House School, and the Outstanding Partner for Girls Award from Clemson University. She has been named the Visiting Scholar in New Zealand, the Visiting Scholar for Montessori Children’s House and has been the Resident Scholar for the Gardner Carney Leadership Institute in Colorado Springs for the past five years.

More Parenting Videos from JoAnn Deak, PhD >
Enter your email to
download & subscribe
to our newsletter