Looking for Authority
Tweens separate truth from fiction by analyzing the source of information, and in the process they may end up crediting particular people, books, or movies with truth, knowledge, and wisdom that are as vast as they are undeserved. They have a propensity to accept everything they hear and read as God's own truth.
Early in the tween years, most youngsters assume their parents to be the experts on every subject. Next, they believe their teachers to possess all wisdom and knowledge. Later, admired peers become the fountains of perfect truth.
For instance, a third grader can easily decide that his arithmetic teacher knows all about long division and that his parent isn't doing the problems correctly, despite the fact that the parent holds a Ph.D. in math and teaches it at a university. A fourth grader can believe that her soccer coach knows the one correct way to fry hamburgers and that an admired peer has all the facts about God and dinosaurs.
The book or movie that reports sightings of alien spaceships in New Mexico, of course, gives the straight scoop about life on Mars. By junior high, if a friend does something a certain way, that is the one right way to do it.
Don't denigrate the outlandish “facts” your tween reports or disparage his ideas or sources of information. That will erode his trust in his teachers and eventually his trust in you. Share your own views and sources without criticizing your child's ideas or where they came from.
The parent who questions such esteemed sources of information is likely to be met with disbelief or hostility. However, after giving the matter some thought, a tween may decide her parent is the expert on this or that particular subject after all and the other person knows nothing. In truth, mothers remain heroines for girls and fathers retain their heroic status for boys throughout the tween years.