We know there are many ups and downs to parenting and stages where we have to learn as we go. One of those times is when your once sweet, tiny child who obeyed your every command (well, almost) begins to blossom into a person you may not recognize.
Don’t panic this stage, known as the tween stage ages 10-12, only lasts for a season. The trick is for both you and your child to get through it and come out on the other side just as close as ever.
Believe me; I know what I’m talking about. I’m mom to four ages 23, 10, 9 and 8. I’ve already survived one tween, experiencing another and right on the precipice of a third.
Here are 5 things you can expect from your tween:
- Behaviors will change. Although it seems like it happens overnight, your child began growing into someone you don’t recognize. They may become more self-conscious (no flashing mom), they may isolate themselves more (they act as if they don’t want to be around you) and your child may begin to give you blunt, word-one answers.
- Bodies will change. You’ve probably noticed the subtleties puberty has had on them and if your reaction was anything close to mine your mouth probably hung open for a few minutes. The hormonal changes are responsible for the behavioral differences.
- Friends will change. If they’re beginning to mature faster than their friends they may not show as much interest in them. Don’t be surprised if you hear new names in conversations or new faces show up for dinner.
- Interests will change. Try not to let your hurt feelings show when you approach your tween to do a once-loved hobby together and they shoot you down. It’s really not personal, the hormones are in control of their attitude and they aren’t adept at expressing that their interests are changing.
- Relationships will change. Girls will suddenly start giggling around boys, trying to get their attention or act extremely shy and self-conscious. Some boys will start noticing girls and others ignore them more than usual. Sometimes, with sons, it’s a front as they figure out where they stand with the opposite sex and the best relational change will be with you. Play your cards right – patience, understanding & creativity – and you’ll come out on the other side of tween-hood closer than you’ve ever been.
One of the things I did to counteract the changes in my oldest daughter’s behavior and attitude was to continue to be right there in her face, so to speak. I made the decision not to let her attitude scare me away and still asked about her day, lounged on her bed and engaged her in every way I could. I’m proud to share our relationship remains close to this day. Hang in there mom, this too shall pass.