GRAND FORKS, N.D. — As her two oldest kids move into their pre-teen, or “tween,” years, Beth Brekke-Rominski is facing challenges she didn’t foresee.
“The biggest problem we’re having right now is talking back, mainly because that’s all they see on TV. It’s drilled into them.”
On TV, kids are never punished for sassing back, she said. “And that’s not acceptable. We really struggled with that.”
She and her husband, Shawn Rominski, are raising Emma, 13, Mason, 11, and Henry, 8.
The Rominskis, of Stephen, Minn., typify couples everywhere who confront new demands for parental wisdom and judgment as their kids enter their tween (ages 10 to 12) and teen years.
“I did not think it would be as difficult as it is,” Brekke-Rominski said.
The way her kids act is much different than she did — or was allowed to — when she was younger.
“I would never have done the things that kids do now. It’s a constant ‘I want, I want,’” she said. “I would never have said that to my parents. If they said ‘no,’ that was it.”
But she realizes she and Shawn have been “facilitators.”
Her kids have a collection of electronic toys and games that she and her husband provided, she said. “We’re making the choice to pacify our children (with these toys). So, it’s partly our fault.”
Allowing your children to make their own mistakes and face the consequences of their actions — or inactions — is “absolutely” a difficult aspect of parenting, Brekke-Rominski said.
“I think it’s harder for us than it is for them. We know the end consequences, and they’re learning it.”
For the most part, she and her husband “let their kids figure it out for themselves,” she said. For example, “if they miss practice, they don’t get to play in the game. It’s tough.”
Finding the best way to discipline “is a learning game,” Brekke-Rominski said.
“I wish I could say we have a plan, but we go day by day. What works for one kid doesn’t work for another.”