teens

“Set a realistic savings goal.” A mother-of-6 shares her Five Golden Rules for parenting tweens.

commonwealth bank
Thanks to our brand partner, commonwealth bank

Mamamia’s Five Golden Rules series takes a pervy look into the lives of Australian families. From parents of toddlers to parents of teenagers, the series asks parents to share their golden parenting rules, including the rules for their kids, and their rules for just getting through the day.

This week, mother-of-six Krechelle shares her Five Golden Rules for parenting tweens.

As a parent to six kids, life is… busy. 

To be more descriptive, it’s chaotic, fun, stressful, hilarious, exhausting, rewarding, magical.

There are hundreds of rules I could share with you which we find important for running our beautiful big, little family (in fact, incredibly necessary). 

They help me (us) stay on track, keep us kind, and allow us all to function in the best possible way; like the rule to not run in the house, or to keep the chocolate in the pantry on a high shelf... away from little eyes.

But parenting tweens specifically? They feel like a whole new ballgame I’m learning every day how exactly to play.

My kids are aged from 5 to 11 years old, with four of them in that milestone era of being a tween.

From one Adelaide mum of multiple tweens, here are my Five Golden Rules for parenting: 

1. Open communication when it comes to finances is a must.

One thing I remember from my childhood is never really understanding the importance of savings or learning about the cost of living; so, a big hello-wake-up-call when I moved out of home, and needed to budget for myself. 

ADVERTISEMENT

My partner and I are very open, in age-appropriate ways, with the kids about our finances, like some mistakes we’ve made where it’s been a learning moment, and our future family goals for savings milestones and dream holidays, and exactly how we are working to get there.

In the last few years, we’ve encouraged the kids to set realistic goals when it comes to their own savings from pocket money and birthday money, as well as reminding them money is not always just there to be spent; purchasing something you’ve worked hard to have from long-term saving is incredibly rewarding.

Recently, my eldest son (11yo) was shocked at the realisation that if he saved most of his pocket money each month, it would take two years for him to buy a PlayStation. We talked it over with him, and with his siblings listening in, and I realised myself what an awesome lesson it was for them all to absorb. 

What it really means to set your eyes on a goal, save incrementally, find joy in watching your hard work grow as savings, and then the anticipation of that satisfaction when he purchases his PlayStation is something that short-term spending on lollies and smaller toys doesn't quite deliver in the same way.

A solid lesson that consistency is key to working towards a bigger but achievable goal. 

We also talk about the cost of things in their world, with comparison to what it took us as parents to earn that amount. It’s amazing to see their eyes widen as they piece together in their young minds as to how this ‘money thing’ really works. 

“Your dad worked one whole day to be able to pay for your netball this season, so that’s how much time and effort it took to earn that amount of money we needed to pay for that,” I said recently to them.

It’s a golden rule for our family, particularly for our four older children in the 8 to 11yo age bracket. We feel by sharing what we’re doing with our money in easy to understand terms creates a healthy and realistic vision of money – especially as money isn’t always tangible for them in our Tap & Go era.  

Having their own respective bank accounts set up in their names too is a must for us so that our kids can 'own' their personal money goals, and be excited to see it grow as they portion their money into save and spend categories. 

It's with our guidance that they manage their bank and do transfers, but it makes them feel like they have their own growing nest egg, which gives them a great sense of ownership and independence around money matters for when they've grown and flown.

2. Every day must include kindness.

Being kind isn’t just important in the way one acts (particularly amongst six siblings!), but also how we put kindness to action. 

ADVERTISEMENT

The children will quite often join in on RAOK, or random acts of kindness. They get a kick out of it when they see how they can make someone else feel seen and celebrated – and makes them feel pleased and helpful too.

They’ll see me pay for the coffee of the person behind me in line, or they will drop little notes amongst each other of kindness and encouragement when a sibling has a soccer game or school project due. 

We talk openly about how being kind costs nothing at all, and by going out into the world and saying the positive things we think to the people we love is super important in a world that could use a little more kindness, particularly right now. 

When they go to school in the morning, the golden rule we all put into play is saying bye to one another and saying, “have a wonderful day and be kind to others”. 

It’s our own little daily dose of wholesome that keeps kindness top of mind in our family. All six of them have a great appreciation for how people treat each other, and that’s so important to me. 

3. Everybody pitches in with housework.

This is a big one for me. 

Because if I didn’t have help in our house of eight... I would quite literally drown in washing! 

Eight sets of clothes, plates, towels, bedding and others a day is an incredible volume of housework, which is definitely not one person's responsibility in our household. 

ADVERTISEMENT

The kids aged eight and older help with caring of the animals and lunch boxes, while the younger kids help with tidying the home and bringing me things to help get the chores done. 

They all put away their own washing (praise be) and they all help when it comes to packing up the table after dinner at the end of each day. 

The golden rule of helping around the house is necessary, delegating one job per child seems to work well, as well as a little pocket money incentive for those bank accounts of theirs!  

4. Quality family time every week is a must. 

As much time as you are in each other’s company, you may not really be spending any quality family time at all. 

We are a really tight family unit, so it's important we organise at least one 'big' thing a week, like a longer dinner together with a conversation 'theme' (and have everybody individually contribute their thoughts), or a hike on the weekend. 

We stay off our phones and the kids don’t bring any play items or screens with them. It's all about just talking.

I work evenings, and my husband works days, so this time is particularly important to us as a group. 

I am constantly reminding the children to treat each other with kindness and that they have the opportunity to nourish their relationships with one another and have this amazing support system when they are older. 

The rule is that it musn't include technology and it must be fun (love me some scheduled, mum-said-so fun, ha!). 

5. Technology is a privilege, not a necessity. Remember that.

Okay, okay: we’ve been guilty of the old “sure, have your iPad” for an hour or two in order to buy quiet time… who hasn’t, really.

But there comes a time to put technology down, with the reminder that it's a privilege, not a necessity.

We’ve recently stopped the use of iPads on weeknights and I’ve found a real difference in the bonding accruing in our house and also the conversations (albeit a bit loud sometimes - six little voices tend to have a higher base volume than your average household!).  

We try and reinforce that when it comes to work, school or relaxing, technology can be a great tool we can use to get these things done, but we absolutely can live without it much of the time. The tweens under our roof beg to differ, but the crowning glory of being the parent is that we get the last say on that one!

Well, there we have it: five golden rules across cleaning, saving, kindness, family time and limiting technology. 

I’m sure there are five (thousand) more I could add!

What are your Five Golden Rules of parenting tweens? Tell us in the comments below.

Feature Image: Supplied.

Looking forward to a brighter future? Complete this survey now and go in the running to win one of six $100 gift vouchers!
commonwealth bank
CommBank offers financial support to families through a range of online resources, helping you towards a brighter future. Our Youthsaver account is designed to teach under 18’s how to save by offering bonus interest and no account fees. Supporting you for a brighter future. Brought to you by CommBank