My daughter will be turning ten in a month, and I am so excited for her! A lot changes when you cross that threshold from little girl to tween, and it can be such a fun time of discovery. Also? It’s hard. There’s girl drama, lots of emotions, and a lot of trying to figure out who you are. Still, my girl’s going to be fine. I’ll make sure of it.
When I think about what life was like for me when I was that age, it was very different. My adolescent years weren’t awesome. I was so anxious all the time. I was so worried about making mistakes because of the consequences. My parents were young and were figuring themselves out, so their form of parenting was a lot more punitive than mine is.
I remember how challenging everything felt back then. And how serious. Big was huge when I was a tween. Every situation was so important.
Even though I can look back now and see that all of the things that I stressed about as a tween didn’t matter after all, at the time, no one could have told me differently. Oh, but they tried. All of the adults around my friends and me talked to us all the time about our issues. No matter how many times they tried to tell us that we were focused on the wrong thing, we were kids. We didn’t get it until we were much older.
That’s what I want to try to remember as I raise my girl during her tween years. I want to tap into my past so that I can be empathetic to her as she goes through her own growing pains.
I can’t even going to lie. The pressure to teach her ALL OF THE THINGS is strong. Nagging feels necessary in most instances, but I have to resist the urge. It’s tough, though. This is such a critical time in her life and I don’t want to mess it up. As important as it is to make sure she’s learning how to be a good person, I also don’t want to minimize her very real feelings and experiences as a tween girl.
As a tween, that would have been a dream to me. More than anything, I craved an adult I could confide in and ask weird questions. That was the stage where I cared, a lot, about approval from adults. It would have done wonders for my self-esteem to have someone who showed an interest in me outside of lectures and general parenting tasks.
I’m doing my best. I volunteer so that I can spend more time with my girl. We talk a lot, and journal together. As she gets older, and is starting to test her dad and my authority a little bit, I find that I’m even more gentle than I was when she was younger. Based on her personality, I know that parenting with softness and understanding will go a lot further than being super militant.
My tween years weren’t the most awesome. The silver lining is the lessons that I learned about being a mom to my very own tween girl. I have a chance to watch her have the experiences and support I didn’t have, and I’m so ready for the job. I used to think I was parenting beyond my means, but know I know that my experiences are going to help me be the mom of my own tween dreams.
Bring it on tween years. I’m ready for you!