Tweens and Their Activities

Illustration of a frustrated mother driving her tween daughter in a car
Rebecca Gibbon

When tweens begin to set priority on friends and activities, you can help them understand that what they are doing is not the family's main priority. Here are some ideas for training them to find the right balance within their new social life: 

Driving Miss Tween

Tweens often assume their parents will drive them to any movie theater, shopping mall or birthday party they want to attend. Naturally, I didn't mind driving my daughter to a school event or youth group meeting, but she needed to know I was not at her beck and call.

We set up some ground rules. If it took me 15 minutes to drive to the mall, she needed to spend 15 minutes vacuuming the car, walking the dog or doing another chore. She quickly gained an appreciation for my time and no longer saw me as her personal chauffeur.

—Silvana Clark

Balancing Family and Friends

Tweens typically want to hang out with friends every weekend, so setting ground rules can help a tween learn to balance family time and her social calendar. One mother sets a clear expectation. "If my child asks to have a friend over with the friend standing next to her, the answer is always no." If asked ahead of time, she’ll consider it. Her tween learns to respect Mom’s time and her decision.

To accommodate this need for friendship and allow for family time, some families let children invite friends — one per child — to outings. Others alternate every Saturday between letting their tween have a friend over and going to a friend's house.

—Bridget A. Nelan


The compiled article "Tweens and Their Activities" first appeared on (2017). "Driving Miss Tween" first appeared in the August/September 2017 issue of Focus on the Family magazine. "Balancing Family and Friends" appeared in the January/February 2013 issue of Thriving Family and the May 2008 issue of "Focus on Your Child" Tween Ages as "Set Boundaries." If you enjoyed this article, read more like it in Focus on the Family's marriage and parenting magazine. Get this publication delivered to your home by subscribing to it for a gift of any amount.

"Tweens and Their Activities" compiled article © 2017 by Focus on the Family. "Driving Miss Tween" © 2017 by Silvana Clark. "Balancing Family and Friends" © 2008 by Bridget A. Nelan. Used by permission.

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