Ten is a smooth stage of development overall, and is sometimes referred to as the “golden end” of childhood. Ten demonstrates a notable shift in flexibility, confidence, and niceness.
The social/emotional life of Ten is complex! Ten enjoys the company of others, including both family outings and peer activities. Ten has improved self-control and emotion regulation than in years prior and is able to more appropriately express their thoughts and emotions. That being said, ANGER is the most common emotional expression for Ten, however, they will quickly stabilize and are typically forgiving. Ten has a greater understanding of social rules and an increased sense of right, wrong, and fairness. So Ten will respond well to rules and instructions, and more confidently advocate for themselves among peers. Example: “you can choose to do that, I know not to” or “ Just because Sally is walking that way doesn’t mean I’m going to.”
It is common for Ten’s to be seeking large amounts of social time with peers/friends, more so than with their family. It is important to provide opportunities for Ten to socialize with friends or engage in group activities. Tens are more open to adult feedback than in previous years, or in years to come, so offer feedback on how to interact socially or build friendships. Helping Ten to balance friend and home expectations is a critical skill for later years. Ten is driven to be with friends so structure some family time into your busy schedule, such as game nights or weekend outings.
Tens fall into the “conformist” stage, and begin to perceive a sense of self as it relates to the peer group sense of belonging. Tens define themselves by their perception of how they fit in to their peer group at school. It is difficult for Tens to resolve problems that are unfamiliar to them. This is where the ANGER comes out often. Giving them a consistent sounding board of a listening ear, helps them to verbally process the problem or ask for suggestions if they wish. Parents, work hard to not suggest unless asked!
Tens will be sassy! You want them to be sassy. They are trying on their assertiveness skills, and shutting it down or shaming them for it, will lead to long term self-esteem challenges and poor boundary setting. We want them to learn how to say “No.” We want our Tens to say “no” when they are teenagers! As a parent, work to remember that