The Gift of Imperfection for Tweens: Part One Lesson One

Brene Brown Discusses Courage, Compassion and Connection

This portion of the Brene Brown The Gift of Imperfection course was easier for my tween. She was excited to start crafting with her mom, loved the idea of looking through pictures of herself, and wasn’t too challenged by the topics yet.

Observations and Adaptations

1. Permission Slips – At first, my tween claimed she didn’t really “get” why she needed a permission slip to participate in the course. But after we watched the video clip and dug just one layer deeper into the conversation, she came up with a profound response. 

Like profound.

I won’t share it here, because it’s hers to share, but I encourage you not to give up if your tween doesn’t take a flying leap out of the gate when you start the course! Give it a moment. Be vulnerable first. Then try again. I was so impressed…

2. Perfection Pledge – I may have actually gotten more out of this one in the moment than my daughter. She doesn’t realize she is a “pleaser” just like her momma, so my hope is some day she will look back at this entry and experience the healing it intended. 

So what did I learn from this exercise? Your tween is still growing in not only WHO they are, but also in their awareness of who they are. It was both interesting and informative to observe that my daughter didn’t recognize the perfectionist in herself yet.

We also had a lot of fun this night – she loves seeing pictures of herself, and hello, permission to Sharpie on your hand? She was into that.


3. Courage is a Heart Word – Things got a little squirrely here. My daughter became insecure about her crafting ability, and I noticed her comparing her work to mine. 

We had a healthy discussion about not comparing ourselves to others – especially in exercises like these in which we were supposed to embracing our real selves. And I was able to share stories about how I compared myself to one of my parents quite a bit growing up and what that did to me and my self-image.

We agreed to work at the same table together but not look at each other’s work. (Note: This lasted for exactly ONE night, and then she was over it.)

On a topic related to the exercise, we had a great conversation about who the important people in our lives really were. We discussed what good, true, forever friends were, and she was able to name one. We talked about the kinds of things we might share about ourselves with those individuals. And then we talked about who just “regular friends” were, what to share, and how to protect our hearts.

This conversation, while important for us adults to keep in perspective, I felt, was infinitely relevant to her life stage! 

I hope this was helpful to you! To see how my tween and I adapted and experienced other lessons, go back to the main post here: The Gift of Imperfection Adapted for a Tweenager.

Adapting Brene Brown’s Course “The Gifts Of Imperfection” for a Tweenager

I love Brene Brown. I love her work. I love her spunk. I love that Oprah loves her. And I want to take all her classes. I feel like when I do, I might finally understand myself and become more of a grown up. Ha!

But when I came across the class The Gifts of Imperfection on Oprah’s Own Life Classes platform, it was my daughter I was excited about.

She needs this.

About The Gifts of Imperfection

The book The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brene Brown encourages readers to live the “authentic version of you” and to accept, understand and believe that version, no matter how imperfect, is enough.


What tweenager – whether they are 11 or, ahem 35 – doesn’t need to hear that message?!

Having said that, my daughter and I don’t have a lot of time together. Between her being only 11, her visitation schedule with her dad and middle school and my raising three kids while expecting twins, running a house and writing, we were not going to be able to sit down and read this book in a way that would be meaningful.

But we could do art here and there, and that’s how Brene’s class became a family bind for us!

About the Class

I came across the course Oprah and Brene partnered on while researching something else, and instantly knew it was going to be the way to go with my tweenager.

The online course is only $70 (at the time of this article), and consists of easy-to-digest video modules and light text that includes crafty (totally unpinnable) projects designed to make the participant think.

Each module also contains reading from The Gifts of Imperfection, but again, I didn’t feel like we had bandwidth for that this go-around. (More on that later.)

Many of the projects require access to family photographs, and it is helpful to have basic art supplies – markers, watercolors, stickers, etc. We also enjoyed having scraps of art paper and magazines.

Projects take 30 minutes give or take but could take a lot less or a lot more depending on your level of craftiness and the conversation you might find yourself having – either with your tweenager or self – about the work.

Adaptations for Tweens

Depending on the maturity level of your child, vulnerability and authenticity can be hard topics to explain, understand and, therefore, to discuss with a tween. Especially in our current culture, when much of what a tween faces is centered on “keeping up appearances,” even conversations with you as a parent, conversations that should be safe and free and real, can end up being awkward.

I found this out the hard way in this course. And I almost gave up.

Then I decided not to.

The course is NOT designed for tweens. I would also say the course would be a stretch for many adults! But as a tool I was hoping would generate conversation between my tween and me while we bonded over some light crafting, it was invaluable. 

And it didn’t have to be done perfectly – hello, that’s what the whole point of the course is!

So I adapted to keep my tween engaged. And here’s how.

(For each week we complete, I will add links to posts about our adaptations below for quick reference!)