New website helps parents and kids navigate the tween years together

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- From braces and growth spurts, to more serious issues like bullying and anxiety, navigating the tween years can be tricky for both kids AND their parents.

Two local moms of tweens are now trying to change that with a new website inspired by their own journey through this new territory.

"It gets harder as you grow up," says 12-year-old Mariah Mays. "The struggle is real."

Not kids anymore, but not yet adults. Mariah Mays and Nate Arnold explain that "tween" struggle.

"Balancing sports and homework is really hard," says 13-year-old Arnold. "The activities you do get more intense."

But with growing pains, comes that classic "coming of age."

"My mom gives me a lot more space," said Mays.

"And more independence," added Arnold.

Turns out, navigating those 8-to-14-year-old years is the great unknown for both tweens and their parents.

"I noticed as my children were getting older that things became a lot more difficult," says Paige Wolf, who created PhillyTweens.com.

She says it was born out of necessity.

"There was a lot of stuff we were struggling with in terms of screens and social media and figuring out who they are and what they want to do and their place in the world," said Wolf.

Together with former school teacher and fellow tween mom Jessica Downes Stuebner, they curated the online hub.

"Parents and tweens need help navigating and we want this to be a place where people can come together to do that," sid Downes Stuebner.

The site covers everything from bullying and cliques to puberty and finding fun, age-appropriate activities.

"Things like summer camp and after school activities, to where to get a haircut and where to take your kid to eat," Wolf says.

They have a calendar of events and conversations that help both parents and kids grow.

"For instance, someone asking what is the right age to stay at home or have a cell phone and people can give advice," said Downes Stuebner.

And because they're moms of tweens, everything is authentic and organic.

"We want to share it with everybody, because it was helpful for us to have it there," says Downes Stuebner.

And starting next month, they're also hosting meet-ups where tweens and their parents can connect, share resources and stand in solidarity because when it comes to growing up, the struggle is real.
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