The Parent's Role
For tweens to accomplish the amazing feats that are sometimes described in magazines and newspapers requires passionate interest on the part of the tweens that lasts long enough for the youngsters to make some actual accomplishments. Parents' encouragement and cooperation are important as well.
Contrary to what many people think, tweens rarely achieve at high levels because they were pushed. Stage-door mothers might get their budding actress into an audition, but the girl must shine to get the part. You can't force a child to study day and night so he completes the winning science project that catapults him into college at age twelve. Child actors, Olympic gymnasts, ice-skating champions, and young musicians who perform with big-city symphonies have to be motivated from within to dedicate the sustained time and effort required for greatness. Moreover, a child must care passionately about whatever he is doing in order to maintain the zest and excitement that sweeps him to the top. Usually, it is the inspired tween who drags a reluctant parent in his wake, but his parent must be willing to go along.
You can help your child pursue his dreams without even understanding much of what he is up to. A youngster who develops a computer game and sells it to a national toy company may have parents who don't know computers well enough to send e-mail. A tween who wins a college scholarship for designing the farthest flying model rocket may have parents who don't know anything about physics, much less model rockets. Your role is to help your tween brainstorm solutions to the problems he encounters along the way. Otherwise, you must brainstorm ways to find help when he needs it. With the world at tweens' fingertips via the Internet, that can be very easy to do.
Assist your child in locating online help by telling her to “use a search engine to find the information you need or an online expert who can help you.” Help her compose an e-mail, in which she explains what she is doing, describes the kind of help she needs, and asks for suggestions for finding assistance.
Being the parent of a super tween gives you bragging rights, but otherwise it's not a lot of fun. When a child becomes passionately involved in a project, your major tangible contribution will probably be serving as chauffeur. Parents inevitably foot the bill for children's expenses — they must find scholarships, locate corporate sponsors, and hold fundraisers if they can't afford them.