Your 8 3/4-year-old: Preteen privileges

Your 8 3/4-year-old: Preteen privileges

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Your 8-year-old now

Do you consider your child a "preteen"? Some marketers now lump the tender ages of 8 and 9 in with the former "tweens" of 10, 11, and 12. Although it's just a label, it can have subconscious effects.

Young childhood has been getting compressed for years as privileges and experiences once reserved for older kids have become available to those who are younger. You'll want to consider on a case-by-case basis how you feel about your child's readiness for some of these things:

  • spa treatments: salon and therapy treatments for young girls – and boys
  • mature clothing – how "racy" are you ready for?
  • PG-13 movies
  • elite team sports
  • personal electronics, including cell phones, MP3 players, and laptops
  • gym membership (kids get exercise just running around, but child gyms are a new trend)

Rule of thumb: The longer you can hold off on bigger-kid privileges, the better. Your child will never be 8 or 9 again, but he has years of teenagerhood ahead.

Your life now

Your child is noticing every aspect of your behavior – even things you might not be proud of. For example, if you receive too much change but don't correct the cashier. Or if you pick something up off a shelf, decide against buying, and fail to put it back in its proper place. These failings may seem small, but they reflect your values and character and signal to your child what's okay and what's not.

More examples of behaviors that don't seem "bad" but that you may not want your child to pick up: procrastination, leaving a mess (dirty dishes in the sink, unmade bed), being late, driving too fast, and making rude comments about other people.

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