Welcome to Your New Teen-dom

You remember the saying “when you have a child, it is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around your body”? I think it’s really true when you’re the parent of a teen or tween except living with a teenagerit’s more like your heart is being stomped. I’ll never forget the day when I realized that with the onset of the tweens I did the math and realized that our actual living “time” with our kids was well over halfway done. It was a sad day for me.

This is the age where your child will start to value their friend’s opinion over yours. They’ll spend whatever free time they have with their friends and not you. You will become seemingly uncool and clueless overnight and nothing you say or do is ever right. You can fight it all you want but it’s a fact of life and I imagine if you think back on it, they’re not acting any differently than you and I did when we were that age.

So, how does everyone survive? As the mom of 3 girls who break down into 2 Tweens and 1 Teen, my best advice is with skin thick as steel, a healthy sense of humor and a six-pack of beer. Your child will say and do the most whacked out things and at some point, you’re going to find yourself stooping to their level. You’ll react with punishments and groundings as off the wall as the crime that was committed.

“Not me” you say? Hah. Good luck with that. What can you expect? Well, let me tell you.

  • Grades: The kid that loved school and had great grades? Don’t be surprised if they tank the first quarter of middle school. Gone are the days of the warm and fuzzy elementary school environment. This is where they are pushed to learn accountability and having ownership over their assignments. It was a hard thing to watch that first “lower than C” grade come home and then later a big, fat F, but we knew that we had to let them see first hand that this was a new game.
  • Friends: Their friends start shifting at this age, too. The amount of kids in middle school is almost 5 times more than elementary school. Most likely there will be very few of the same kids in their class as they had before. Which means that not only are they meeting new people, but you are as well – because new kids mean new parents. The social life kicks into over-drive and you have to keep an even closer eye on it. I used to enjoy the parties where I could drop the girls off and come back in 2 hours. Now I really wish I could stay and hang out to keep an every watchful eye on the budding interest in the opposite sex. Sounds obvious but know the parents and if there’s a party, make sure that THEY, the parents, are aware of it. How many times did we do the old party flip-flop where we said they were having the party/sleepover and they said we were having it.
  • Communication and technology: The vast majority of their interaction and conversations happen without a word ever being spoken. They communicate almost entirely by text, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and in some cases Snapchat. Email doesn’t exist in their world. The rule in our house is if you have a phone and text, it is subject to random inspection and believe me – we enforce that. I’ve seen a few things that I didn’t like and there were consequences. But you have to take advantage of the fact that they do still look to you for guidance and use it to educate them. If you aren’t already familiar with the sites they use (such as Facebook and Twitter), I would strongly recommend that you get on these sites and familiarize yourself like, yesterday.
  • Attitude: Ah yes, attitude. This is a tough one in our house. I remember being a 14-year-old girl and all the crazy stuff going on in my head and my body. My husband on the other hand, can’t relate as well. He sees the dramatic sighs and eye rolls as nothing short of disrespectful and while he is right in a sense, it really is nothing more than her attempt at creating her own identity and points of views. Decide early on what you’ll let roll off your back and what you won’t allow. For me the big one is to not be cruel or intentionally hurt someone’s feelings. There will be unpopular decisions made. I was once informed that I was SO overprotective and not fair because I wouldn’t allow DD to sleep over at an outdoor party. Uhm yeah… guilty as charged.. sorry if I’m not ready for Co-Ed sleepovers.

We can all agree that this is a trying time for all, but it’s also very rewarding just like every other phase. When they want to spend time with you, it is a great opportunity to reconnect with them. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to get a better idea of what they’re thinking and who they’re thinking about. Work “hot topics” into the conversation when the chance presents itself. Now more than ever they really need to know that you are there for them and that they can still come to you for advice.

Kristen

I love comments and respond to each one. I’m all for a good debate, but, I don’t like nasty comments. If it’s Janet Jackson “nasty” I’m cool with that, but any other kind of nasty will get deleted at my discretion. ‘mkay?

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5 comments

  1. I love this post!!! As my M turns 10 in December I’m seeing the above changes right in front of my eyes & dear ole stepdaddy (her real dad is essentially a sperm donor, every other weekend dad & never helps financially or for the true parenting) has the wool pulled right over his eyes- our girl is perfect, only thing he’s worried about is the boys… completely missing the point that I’ve been 10-18 years old & she is my minime, we will have our hands full… I have made the lines of communication open about everything & I have been truthful about my wild teen years (as much as you tell a 9yr old) & I’m going to keep talking… I think we cannot close the door to talk or teendom will be hell. Wonderful post, KD! ~A~
    Amber Day Hicks recently posted..my Faith & all the proof I need!My Profile

  2. I agree that you can’t let too much slip but at the same time, if you don’t pick your battles all you’re going to do is feel like you’re harping. all. the. time. I usually retort to them that they will NEVER be better than me at the dramatics and eyerolls. Ever.
    Kristen Daukas recently posted..Welcome to Your New Teen-domMy Profile

  3. My husband feels the same way. “I’m not going to have that kind of attitude. It’s disrespectful.” While I think there should certainly be a limit, I also think these girls are going through a lot and sometimes they just want to be alone and grumpy. They come back eventually.

    My oldest HAG, formerly straight A student, has brought home three or four F’s this year so far! Not on a report card, just on individual assignments, but still! What’s up with that? She got straight A’s her first quarter of middle school, and I don’t know when she’ll have them again.
    Katie E recently posted..Toddler Gymnastics #iPPPMy Profile

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