Interview with Suzanna Narducci of TweenParent.com
I am happy to introduce Suzanna Narducci co-founder of a wonderfully informative website and publication for parents of pre-adolescents. Please enjoy the interview and both Suzanna and I look forward to your questions and comments.
What inspired you to start TweenParent.com?
I’d always felt that parents of middle school aged kids were short changed. There is so much information available about parenting in the baby and toddler years. Once kids start to become independent, at a time when they need their parent’s guidance the most, there are very few resources that focus on the issues unique to this age group.
The inspiration for the site came four years ago when I heard another parent voice concerns about kids posting inappropriate pictures on social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook. As most parents, at that time, had no idea that these sites existed, they didn’t know what to look for or have the knowledge to understand the pitfalls of social networking. Clearly, a resource was needed for parents. I approached friend, Judy King-Murray, with the concept and we developed TweenParent.com.
Why do you think that it is so important to have a publication dedicated specifically to this age group?
The tween years bridge the gap between the kid years and the teen years. During this time, kids become more independent, their peers’ opinions gain increased value, expectations in school and extracurricular activities ramp up, they are exposed to the cyber world, they are increasingly aware of media influences, and in some cases tweens experience pressure from peers related to alcohol and sex. At TweenParent.com, our goal is to give parents the information they need about the pressures their kids face and what they need to consider when guiding them through this stage of development.
What does the site offer parents?
TweenParent.com has a library of articles that covers everything related to tweens from serious parenting issues to fun things to do as a family. Each week we send out a newsletter that features two new articles. We have a section called Tween Lingo that keeps parents up to date with the latest slang, IM and texting definitions. Most importantly, two moms run the site. Judy and I are all about keeping it real and encourage other parents to give us feedback. We want to write about all the challenges parents face during the tween years.
What benefits do you hope parents will gain from reading TweenParent.com?
The move to middle school often means that parents become less involved in their kids’ lives at a time when kids are faced with increased pressure from the outside world and start wanting more independence. Parenting during these years is tough. We want to offer tools to help moms and dads build a strong and trusting relationship with their kids, both through serious parenting advice and fun ways to enjoy family time. We also want to give parents the information they’ll need to lay the foundation with their tweens for good decision-making in the teenage years and beyond. After all, the end goal for parents is to raise well-adjusted, confident, and independent young adults.
What advice do you have to help parents build a good relationship with their preteen?
I think that the most important thing parents can do is to learn how to listen to their kids. By asking open-ended questions and making sure that they’ve really heard what their preteens have to say, parents create the opportunity to better know and understand their kids. This skill will come in handy when parents have to set limits. When kids ask for fewer restrictions, parents can engage them in the process — hear why this privilege is important to your preteen, if you have concerns voice them. Ask your preteen to suggest a compromise that will make you both feel comfortable. Parents may still say “no,” but making your child feel heard and understood will help ease the disappointment. Aside from learning how to listen, I believe that it is important to share family values with your kids and spend time with them. Knowing that they have their parents’ love and support gives preteens the resilience they need to carry them through tough situations.
A few comments from parents and professionals about TweenParent.com:
TweenParent.com is an excellent resource with a plethora of information to help parents receive and share advice and support from and with a savvy community. I highly recommend it for all parents of tweens to help them navigate through these challenging years. -Jackie L. Cohen, LCSW MEd, Child/Adolescent Psychotherapy and PsychoanalysisParenting a tween is a complicated job. Tweenparent provides me with insightful, timely, and concise information that helps make that job easier. It's my "go-to" resource whenever I have a question about tween issues. And I always learn a fresh idea or tip with the newsletter. -Christine Beattie, mom of a tweenLike a lot of parents, I'm busy. I happen to be in the book publishing industry, so I also often have more reading than I can possibly get through. And yet every time the Tweenparent newsletter comes, there is always an article of real use and/or interest to me. It's such an easy, focused, and reliable newsletter that it breaks through the clutter and it's a low-key, warm community I really value. -Laura Dail, Literary Agent and mom of a tween