Mush words, or words that combine two concepts to make a new concept are all the rage, and one such word is “tween”. What is a tween? A tween is a number of things, and can be a bit elusive to describe as it is a bit of a generational reference, but the following is a brief summary of what it means to be a tween:
First and foremost, tween is defined by an age group. Just as a teen is age 13-18 (despite the fact that 19 still has “teen” in the name), a tween is defined as someone within the age range of 8-12.
Second, A tween, tweenager, preteen, or tweenie, as they are often called, is someone who is in those awkard years between teenager hood and childhood. They are those kids that are not yet old enough or responsible enough to hit the mall without adult supervision, but are too old to be constantly chaperoned by parents, and entertained like toddlers.
Third, being a tween is about being in a stage, one that typically occurs during the age range of 8-12, but could continue into the teen years, or start earlier than eight. This is the stage where you start stepping further away from your family as your only social circle, and start forming bonds with friends, and caring more about what peers think and do. This is the age when peer pressure becomes more than making people happy, and turns into trying to fit in. It is an awkward stage where most kids are not yet ready to accept the responsibilities that come with being a teenager, but do not want to be treated like a little kid either. Basically they want all the perks and benefits without any of the responsibilities.
Next, the tween stage is when kids want to grow up, when they start to realize there are perks to not being a kid anymore. They start to form their basic adolescent identities, and begin pushing limits in what they do. They start to get involved in things that may not have interested them much before, such as brands, clothes, gadgets and electronics, having the latest and greatest, and keeping up with the Jones’s.
The tween years are filled with insecurities, friend making, consumerism, and often frustration. Kids start to realize that the friends they have are not necessarily the people they want to spend time with. No longer are they content to just hang out with the kids in the neighborhood because they are close by, rather they want to spend time with people they like, who have common interests, are cool, etc. It is a transitional phase, and one that can mean a lot of headache for mom and dad. But, the good news is, handled right, and your tween will come out of the stage with self confidence, and direction.