Tuesday, July 1, 2014

10 Things Nobody Told you about Parenting and the Challenges of a Pre-teen

My beautiful daughter turned 12 this year and I have to say, I am so not ready for the teen years. Next year she heads into high school and all the angst that goes with hormones are beginning to kick in as a Tween.

Here are 10 things no-body tells you about parenting a Tween before you have children:

1. Moods. Yep, mood swings, in our house now its not just mum who has a bad day every month, now there are two females on the warpath when the mood swings are upon us, lucky daddy.

2. Friends, Jealousy and fights. Or to but it more bluntly 'bitchiness'. This is the age when the girls start developing little cliques and all the challenges that go along with it. Fights with friends, excluding kids that don't fit, social media problems and bullying.

3. Attitude and Sarcasm. Yes this is where your own behaviour begins to come home to roost. The sarcasm and smarty pants attitude is in full force now and all the bad habits you have exposed them to are coming back to haunt you.

4. Know it All. Apparently tweens and teenagers know it all, shocking isn't it. Here I am at 43 years still learning new things daily, but no, my 12 year old knows it all, and if she doesn't, her friends do. I lost count of the times I have heard. "But mummy 'xxxx' said its true."!!!!!

5. Boys. Thankfully my daughter is not fully ready to start dating, but there is no doubt that boys are now on the radar and become far more interesting than they were. Oh, I miss 'boy germs' days, there were far less stressful.

6. Hormone and Body Changes. This is a big change for girls at this age, in addition to dealing with their body changing physically and the hormone swings that go along with that, there is the reality of menstruation for girls. Ugh, I was so not ready for that to start, but ready or not, here it comes.

7. Grunting. Yes that is exactly what it says, I have to admit I thought this would be a boy thing, but nope, girls do it to. 'How was your day sweety', grunt, head back down on the smart phone. (I think that means OK, but who knows).

8. Communication. Just like the grunting I lost count of the number of times I get a 'what' when I try and talk to my daughter these days, the headphones are on almost all the time and the head is buried on the smart phone or watching tv and any interruption to this from a parent is fiercely resented.

9. Privacy. Once upon a time I never gave it a second thought about entering the bathroom when my daughter was in the shower or her room. Now days its taboo to enter the bathroom whilst she is in there.

10. Secretive. Where once upon a time my daughter would tell me everything that was happening in her life, now days I have no idea what is going on, and probing for information does me no good. I just have to hope that all the good bonding we did earlier in life ensures that she will come to me when she has a real issue to deal with.

Of course, having said all the above, at this age they are still such a wild combination of child and developing adult. I am very grateful that I have a child who is loving, caring and has a wonderful support system in her family to get her through all the above.