Moms of Tweens Need to Be Showered With Diamonds and Flowers (Just Because)

Tween, momThis blog post has gone through multiple transitions. Initially, I set out to write about how I noticed that my relationship with Teen Child has subtly changed. Just last year, I was ready to kick that girl's butt up one side of heaven and down the hot beds of hell. Her report cards were terrible and I was talking to her teachers so often, we just started texting to save time.

In the eighth grade, though, things have mellowed out a little. And I was just about to celebrate it. I had started writing about it and everything. Then we hit a setback last Monday. All because of a stupid, blockheaded boy who, to be quite honest, she isn’t supposed to be talking to anyway. Now I’m back to wading waist-deep through the fiery pit of tween angst, and that well-deserved respite is a memory. Most moms talk about surviving the Terrible Twos. I’ll be glad to get my stripes and say I've managed to make it through the Tumultuous Tweens. 

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Miss Thing was an easy baby. I don’t remember her being especially fussy when she was teething and she potty trained like a champ. Elementary school went by like a breeze — she didn’t so much as sniffle on the first day of kindergarten — and up until the fifth grade, she was a chatty, bubbly, dancing little ball of brown joy. And then she turned 11, and some really mean person crept into my household in the middle of the night, put some funky hoodoo hex on my baby girl, and turned her into an eye-rolling, huffing, puffing, make-her-mother-reach-for-the-Advil tweenager.

Everything, from what time to do the dishes to how many chicken nuggets to pack in her lunch, became fodder for debate and reeked of high sadiddy attitude. I don’t like a whole lot of backtalk from a child. In fact, one of my number one pet peeves is a know-it-all, answer-for-everything, smart-alecky kid. I mean, have an opinion and everything but know 1) how to get it across respectfully and 2) when to chalk it up, sit it down, and move it along.

I had set parameters very early on that this right here is not a partnership. We are a team, her and me, Mommy and Skylar, but every team has a leader and in our house, that is me. So I’ll listen to her make a case for something so long as it’s not just defiance for defiance’s sake. That, in my book, is disrespect.

Even at that, she’s never been a bad kid. I mean, I could do without the voice that goes up 17 octaves when she wants to contest my instruction or the 30 times I actually have to give that instruction before whatever it is finally gets done. But it’s a far cry from some of the horror stories I run across about disgruntled girls running away from home or experimenting with drugs or sneaking boys in through their bedroom windows. But I’m trying really, really hard not to ever let it escalate to that point, either.

A week ago today, I confiscated her cellphone — the same cellphone she begged and prayed and pleaded so long for and finally gotten in a dramatically wrapped and presented gift for Christmas not even two whole months ago — because apparently, she called a boy at 4 in the morning. And this is why I have no problem shaking down her Facebook page, her Twitter direct messages, or her texts in a friggin’ heartbeat. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t know she was trying to act grown. And if I didn’t know she was trying to act grown, things might’ve gotten way out of hand.

Things have been strained around here since. I’ve crushed her world by cutting off communication with this boy, she says (in so many words). We’ve never gone very long doing the silent treatment thing, but it’s going on seven days on her end. Only a week before that, she tweeted, “I love my Mommy. If no one else is there for me, I know she will be.” Well golly gee. How a few days change things. Now she’s barely acknowledging that I’m in the same house.

I know mothers who have adorable baby girls, still so sweet and cute and cuddly. Thirteen years ago, I had one of those, too. Just watch your backs, moms. I don’t know about boys, but I know the girls will turn on ya quicker than you can say ... well, nothing.

Who’s more difficult to handle: tween boys or tween girls?


 
Image via DaveFayram/Flickr

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