The Tween Years Are Here and I've Already Had Enough

Jacqueline Burt Cote

charlotte is a tweenI woke up this morning and my daughter was a tween! Sounds like the title of some low-budget horror flick, doesn't it? Alas, it is my reality. Today was my daughter Charlotte's 10th birthday, and I'm not going to lie, I'm freaking out. I've had countless moms with older daughters warn me: Just wait for the mood swings! Once they hit middle school, it's nothing but drama! The thing is, my daughter has been a drama queen since the day she was born (exactly ten years ago). I don't have to wait for any mood swings, I've already spent a decade following my daughter back and forth from one emotion to the next. She can't actually become any more of a stereotypical teen than she already is, can she? Can she?

I'm not complaining, exactly -- naturally I love my daughter beyond all measure. She's talented and smart and quirky and strong-willed, all qualities that will serve her well later in life. The fact that these highly valuable traits are what make my daughter a bit of a handful is not lost on me. When I think of her as precocious and advanced rather than high-maintenance, my fear of the next few years fades. Maybe she's just getting all the teenage angst out of her system ahead of time, I tell myself.

Maybe not. If these early years have been nothing but a shade of what lies ahead, I'll have no choice but to suck it up and try to guide my daughter through the storm of adolescence by acting as a lighthouse of stability and calm. And by using my favorite as a mantra: "Well-behaved women seldom make history" (Laurel Thatcher Ulrich).

How are you dealing with the tween years?

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