Saturday, February 19, 2011

The "tween" years: the good, the bad, the ugly

I’m getting an education in how to deal with my "tween" daughter, but it’s happening at a snails pace, one day at a time-isn’t that a song title? And as the countdown is slowing to just a few weeks before my daughter turns the ripe old age of 12, and the battles of "who's the boss" continue, I can’t help but remember some of the battles I had with my own mother at this age, and I hope time won’t repeat itself.

Do all mothers and daughters disagree when the teen years start, or are my control issues driving a wedge between us? I‘m coming off a real low point right now, in part because of an argument I had with my daughter before school on Friday. It had been a trying week for me, mainly because I hadn’t been feeling too well, and I hadn’t been getting much sleep at night-my body was dead tired, but I just couldn’t shut my brain down.

Anyway, I was off on Friday, but my kids still had school, so I was the one who would have get them on the bus (my husband usually drives the kids to school because the bus gets to our house pretty late.) Things weren’t going too well with my daughter, and speed was the issue-there seems to be one speed for getting things done anymore, "slow!" I was watching the clock and trying to get her to finish getting ready, but she was still in front of the mirror fooling with her outfit-no shoes on, and hair and teeth not brushed, so I was a basket case! They had a teachers vs. students basketball game that day, and all of her friends had decided that they would dress a certain way

The bus would be here in ten minutes so I shouted my last warning, and headed outside with my son. With five minutes left to spare, she meanders outside carrying her winter coat, and decides that she needs her light coat instead. Back in the house she goes, and comes out with a very thin hoodie-now I know the temperatures were to get into the 60’s later in the day, but it was still in the 30’s, and with the wind blowing it felt like 20’s!

So I headed back in the house in search of a light but a bit heavier jacket, but when I came out I knew by my daughter’s face that I was in for an argument. You see the shirt she was wearing was pretty long, and it didn’t look right hanging out from under her jacket. Back into the house I went in search of another jacket, coming out with one that I bought her last spring. She refused to try it on to see if it would fit. I had my doubts too, but I mean she actually flat out refused and that brought out the control freak in me-I gave her an ultimatum-either try on the jacket, or lose her iPod for a week! She tried on the jacket but even though it still fit her in the sleeves, it was now much too short, so back into the house I went for the winter jacket again!

That’s three trips into the house and back, and I was livid-my daughter wanted to go back into the house to retrieve her jacket, but like I said before, the only speed she knows is slow, and the bus was due any minute.

Now a smarter person would have just let the matter drop with only two minutes before the bus, but since my education in tween isn’t complete, I did not stop. My daughter’s hair (or more like the lack of a hairstyle) has been a point of contention between her, her father, and me for some time now-I had wanted her to browse the web until she found a style she liked, and then we would go the beauty shop this weekend. She hadn’t done this yet; I told her that I was taking her this weekend and the style I wanted her to have would be the one she would come home with. This didn’t go over very well, and there were some tears and some angry retorts-apparently I have ruined her life, and she was going to make sure I never saw her grandchildren.

Okay, I was so hurt by the "ruining her life" comment that I didn’t laugh at the grandchild comment (um, I would be dead so I wouldn’t see her grandchildren)-she must mean "children" but I didn’t correct her. And I got no wave or acknowledgment (although I rarely do anymore) when she walked on the bus.

I called my husband up when I got back inside, and he promptly welcomed me to his world-he has daily altercations with my daughter about the speed issue (I believe the "I hate you!" is uttered by her to him quite frequently), but he says he tries to back off before things get too intense, sort of signifying that once again I had a lot to learn about tweendom.

Things are better between my daughter and I since Friday morning-we talked, and I listened, and I started to remember how hard school and life is at this age. Everything is changing for her-more responsibilities at home, harder work at school, and friends and their opinions taking a bigger role. I’m not saying that we’re not going to have any more battles (she lost her iPod today after I asked her three times to get into the shower), but I’m going to work on listening a little more and talking a little less, that and looking for a book on this stuff-I hate being the slowest kid in the class!


  1. Oh, *sigh*. I know it's hard. I have had to practically bite my tongue off with my 15 year old. She has a very nice expensive jacket I bought her Christmas before last that is hardly worn and a nice lighter weight one new this fall. Almost every morning she comes out in a 4 year old faded thing with a tear in it that was originally mine! I finally realized nothing I said would change it.

    You will ruin her life countless times over the next few years but don't despair. My guess is she will be happy with it all the same. It means absolutely nothing except 'life is hard right now and I can be mean to you because you love me and you won't leave me.'

    I also suggest trying to live to at least 100 so you can get a look at her grandkids just as a personal revenge ; )

  2. Good luck to you! Boys/girls...the tween years are TOUGH. I'm getting a piece of it now with my 11 year old son.

    There's a battle for their being independent but it's also a time where they are learning how to make good choices.

    It's a time as a parent where we need to learn to pick and choose our battles.

    With something like the jacket, I don't fight that one. I figure if he ends up too cold, then he will make a better choice the next time. If he decides to always go the "I look cooler" in a light jacket be it.

    However if he decided he wanted his hair in a mohawk......that would be the battle I would definately be fighting.

  3. Motpg, you made me laugh about the jacket! And I guess I better learn to hold my tongue...

  4. Nancy, yep, this battle could have been avoided...

  5. I wonder what my daughter will be like when she hits those tween years. I hear some scary stories about mom/daughter confrontations at that age. My 14 year old son and I have been battling here and there. Lots of attitude. I'm trying to hold back and not argue all the time with him, but it's tough some days. Hugs to you my friend! Guess what? You won last week's Wednesdays Ten over at WWP. Love all your entries! Hope to write to you soon after all this crazy juror experience is over. I feel like I'm on an episode of Law & Order. LOL.

  6. I don't envy you. My sister has been going through some of the same things with my tween niece. And as my niece is never a problem for her loving auntie, she does give my sister grief. I'm glad things are a little better between you and your daughter now. I hope you find a really good book because I know I'm going to need one about raising a teen boy at some point. oO, how I don't look forward to that. Lol! I'll stick with the temper tantrum twos right now.


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