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We talk about children and teens all the time, but what about that group of kids sandwiched in between those age groups?
That is the group formerly referred to as pre-teens and currently referred to as tweens.
Kids in this age group (11-13) are sort of like middle children - confused about exactly where they fit in.
Usually, they reach upwards and try to imitate their older siblings or older role models. Let me tell you what this often leads to. It leads to some concerning tween trends. In their frantic pursuit to emulate teens they engage in some of the following trends:
1. I will refer to the first one as FOMO. In the abbreviated vernacular of teens this means fear of missing out. Tweens are becoming more and more plugged into electronic technology just like teens because they have this fear of missing out. Missing out on what is going on among their friends, being left out of dialogue, being left out of the loop. and not fitting in because they like many of their peers may not be checking their messages frequently enough. I was introduced to this term FOMO today by a 12-year-old and, boy, does it explain a lot.
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2. We have only to look at the tween or pre-teen sections of department stores or specialty boutiques to see that sexier clothing is being made for kids in the 11-13 year old age group. And, if that is what is being sold and what their friends are wearing, you can bet that your tween will want to fit in with the same sexualized uniform. That, I feel is a shame. Many of them are still unclear about sexuality and the power of sexuality, yet they are dressing in sexy garb. When I was growing up I can assure you that sexy clothing was not even a consideration for back-to-school clothing.
3.Tweens, unfortunately, are sadder earlier. I have seen this trend first hand in my practice, which spans over two decades. Tweens are getting eating disorders at earlier ages and are engaging in self-destructive behavior at their tender young ages. My thought is that they as they are picking up the habits of their older peers, wfor which they may not be ready. They may be experiencing a level of stress for which they are ill-equipped to deal. This is both sad and unfortunate and really breaks my heart to witness.