Dealing with a Tween

Next week my lovely daughter; the one I used to rock back and forth and hold in my arms and play tic tact toe with and hold hands with while crossing the streets, will be 11 next week. 11. I feel old.

Mostly I feel old because Im under 30 and have an 11 year old. I also feel old because I am under 30 and have two kids, one who is 11 and one who is a baby.

A lot comes along with an 11 year old. This is when they start to hit puberty. They get all emotional and pushy and testy and take everything so darn seriously {as if they didn’t take it all so seriously already anyway!}. Now throw having an 11 year old in there that is a girl and everything is magnified by 100. I remember that age – my mom lived in San Diego at the time so it was just me, my dad, and my brother. Going through puberty was hard with out my mom! And my dad was no help {it’s ok, dad – you did the best you could with what you knew! I still love you!}.

This is the year, when boys become the main topic of conversation and their bodies start to change. When the words ‘sex’ and ‘penis’ and ‘period’ isn’t followed by an echoed ‘EWWWWWW’. Speaking of sex; I gave ‘the talk’ to Bry. Wanna know what surprised me? She pretty much already knew what it was all about. Thank you chatty kids at school. When I talked with her about it, the concept didn’t gross her out, but explaining how it was done made her put her hand up in disgust and ask if we could finish watching Pretty Little Liars now. Thank goodness for that! But boys and sex and all that cooties stuff doesn’t bother me or worry me too much.

It’s that damn attitude. If I had a penny for every ‘I know’ I wouldn’t have to worry about money ever again. Do your kids do that? ‘I know, Mom’. Well, if you knew then you wouldn’t have done it, right? Sheesh. And it’s not like they say it in a way that is reassuring, oh no. They say it in a way that is full of a miss {or mister} know-it-all ‘tude that makes you wanna slap the pig tails right off of her. Any why does every thing have to be a chore? I’ll ask Bry to please pick up her socks from the living room and put them in her dirty clothes basket and she translates it to ‘you must pick up those socks now and while you’re at it clean your room and do the dishes and wash your clothes and sweep the front porch and while you’re at it, knit me up a new pair of socks’. As she sighs the longest sigh of her life all the way to her bedroom. 

Also, 11 year olds transition from ‘play date’ to ‘hang out’. When you’re a kid and you can’t have a play date with a friend its ok, I’ll throw a fit for a couple minutes and then ‘ooooo, Teletubbies!’. Done. But tell an 11 year old they cant hang out with their friend after school today and it’s like the worst tantrum ever. They’ll hate you for two solid days straight, stomping all over the house, avoiding you at all costs. Cause you just kept her away from her favorite person ever. Which should be you {which used to be you}, but didn’t you get the memo? It’s that one girl down the street who has the coolest pair of shorts ever, mom, didn’t you hear? No. And I don’t care. {But really I do, cause Im really invested in who she is friends with}.

So, how do I deal with it?

Simple.

I learn to pick my battles.

I allow her to be upset and angry. Feelings are feelings – they’re never wrong.

I put my foot down when it is necessary.

I find a balance of being her mom as well as being her friend.

I tell her I love her {even if I don’t like her at that moment}.

And so far, I haven’t run her over with the car or shipped her off to her dads so I’d say I’m not doin’ too bad a job here. Of course for as much work as I put in to my relationship with her, I expect in return with me. So to be able to do that {aside from what I listed above}, she and I have a book. Its the ‘Just Between Us’ journal. And yeah, we have used it!

There are some cool questions in there like who was my fave band when I was her age and what did I want to be when I grew up. I love reading her paralleled answers. We are so different and so unique.

But what I love most about the journal, is that we are able to write down how we are feeling about anything with out having it feeling like a confrontation. Bry can write to me about something she would otherwise feel uncomfortable talking about face to face.  It has given us the opportunity to be open with one another whether it be something she is doing {or not doing} that is frustrating me or something someone said to her at school that day that upset her. We still talk to each other about issues, and I love it, but sometimes its just easier to write out your feelings. It has definitely helped us resolve some things and it is something I highly suggest to any mother and daughter – issues or not!

So with her 11th birthday rolling around and the days of childhood fading behind her I know there will be many more challenges ahead of us. Her tween years will turn into teen and then she will be an adult {which I am sure I will hate more than anything!}. But as long as I keep doin’ what I’m doin’ and stay the adult in our relationship, my daughter, though always my daughter, will be also be my friend. Because even now we have the best time ever together. And it’s those days that I remember.

Even if I don’t like her very much some times and I ‘ruined’ her ‘life’.

Heh, oh well.


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6 thoughts on “Dealing with a Tween

  1. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this! My girls are almost 14…and as of last Sunday…11…and I know exactly….how you feel. I’d be rich if I had a nickel for every ‘I know’ that came out of their mouths. Ah! It’s definitely am interesting ride as they grow into teens..attitudes are what gets m as well, I’ll take the sex talk or periods any day but an attitude is the worst…tantrums and avoidance….(there have been some quiet days though!)

  2. 🙂 I have a 9 year old boy… and it’s already starting. “I know” is often the first thing out of his mouth when I tell him to do something… new follower here! 🙂 Love the honest transparency! Everyone talks about how hard it is to parent toddlers and teens… but that time between 9-11 can really give you a run for your money! 🙂 Keep trying mama, it looks like you are doing great! (What is the name of the journal you were talking about, I have a 7 year old girl and that sounds delightful for later!!)

    • Its hard! And all the books in the world cant always help. But the journal is called ‘Just Between Us’. Amazon has it. I got it at Borders before they went out of business. Maybe Barnes & Noble has it? I encourage every mom of a daughter to get it. Or at least start a journal of their own.

  3. What if you have two daughters….can the journal double? Or is it one journal per two people…probably makes sense its supposed to be kept between one mom and daughter…..dumb question! 🙂

  4. Ashley Marie, I think the journal idea is great! It’s wonderful that you’re able to find helpful ways to communicate with and support your daughter as she enters this challenging stage of her life. Some people just have a really hard time dealing with tweens, but here you are, an encouragement, showing us ways to make the transition easier. Thank you for linking with {Monday Mom Musings} this week!

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