By Amanda Stokes, author, educator and mother-of-three 

The tween years can be a challenging time as a parent, as your once compliant daughter rolls her eyes at the idea of being told to hang up her towel, let alone helping empty the dishwasher.

As challenging as this new found attitude is, the tweenage years are an incredibly important time because it’s an opportunity to set up clear expectations as a family and on an individual level too.

It would be wonderful if our daughters became resilient and self-aware by osmosis, but unfortunately life doesn’t work that way.

Here are my top 5 tips for raising strong, connected, empowered and self-aware tween daughters:

1. Encourage reflection and responsibility

We all play a role, it’s important we help our  daughters understand theirs. I’m a big believer that there are three sides to every story – one side, the other side and the truth. The story we tell ourselves is the one that leads to our view of the world.

I think it’s incredibly important we help our daughters develop their perspective. We want them to become participants in their lives, not victims of circumstance.

Encourage your daughter to develop their perspective and see all sides of a story.

2. Lead with self-compassion

This is an important one. As humans we are innately flawed, it’s just part of life, we all make mistakes and we’re meant to. We need to empower our daughters to understand that it’s not our challenges that define us, but rather the way we rise up after a fall.

3. Find better ways to communicate

The Tween years are the beginning of our daughters becoming less open with us. As parents, it’s a really great time to get creative! Start a journal that’s just between the two of you, leave her notes to find, plan a date, think outside the box.

4. Be a supporter of other women

So often our girls start comparing themselves to others, they feel envious of other’s achievements, they feel like if someone else is good at something then that makes them less so.

We need to teach our girls that there is not a finite amount of goodness out there. We can encourage our daughters to celebrate others by role modelling this first and becoming supporters of other women.

5. Understanding you control your inner voice

Our thoughts lead to our feelings which lead to our actions. We need to help our daughters understand this and provide supportive opportunities for them to reflect and challenge their thinking. It’s incredible to think that often our girls aren’t connected to their inner voice.

There is so much power in understanding that we are in control of thoughts, and through practice, we can help our daughters create a kinder, more optimistic self talk.

How old is a tween?

A tween is a child between the ages of nine and 12. It refers to someone who has passed the early childhood stages but is not yet a teenager.

Amanda is an educator, presenter and mother to 3 and the Founder of Raising Strong Daughters. Her new book, The Tween Mother’s Tool Book: Raising Strong Daughters, is a practical, easy to use activity based guide that covers moods, friendship, self acceptance and so much more.