Tween!

I am on new uncharted territory for me. I have a tween – you know the children that are precariously balancing between being a young child and teenager – a tween. I am flying blind and by the seat of my pants here because she is my eldest.

Tweens find themselves in difficult positions. They are trying to create their own identity – independent of their parents but somehow letting go is difficult because they are facing so many new challenges in their young lives. My 11 year old daughter is at that stage now. We joke about it occasionally when her eyes roll at our suggestions – that we have a teenager in the house but sometimes at the end of the day, I look back and it is no joke.

My daughter loves being with us – she still enjoys family days out, eating around the table as family (which we do without thinking or planning at least five times a week). Family time for her is number one. She has many friends that don’t have that stable time in their lives. Their parents eat separately, different meals, and don’t spend any quality time with their children. So my bright child does consider herself lucky to have that.

But the problem I don’t think is her being a tween – it is me being the mother of a tween. I am not sure how to cope. How do I let her discover who she is without letting the rules fly out the window? How do I let her explore her world without cramping her style and become that nagging parent.

Make no mistake. I am a firm believer in my personal mantra: I am my child’s mother, parent, first and foremost. I see so many parents making the mistake of trying to be their child’s friend. It does not work because the loss of respect, I feel, is inevitable. There is such a fine line between wanting your child to have fun with you and enjoy your time together and losing those boundaries that ultimately lay the foundation of a good parent-tween relationship.

So every day I am tested: I get eye rolling, the sighs and the skirting around tasks which ultimately makes me feel like I am losing a bit of control. So ‘punishments’ for the lack of a better word (I hate the word punishment by the way) are figured out. But how do you discipline some one who is by all accounts as close to perfect as I could possibly hope or pray for?

My daughter does her homework with being asked to. She does extra credit work because she wants to. She excels academically. She is committed to her after school activities. She is a good friend. She does not watch more than 30 minutes of television a day and that even is generally when we all sit together at the end of the day so it ends up being a program on National Geographic or the Discovery Channel. She does not play on the PSP or tv games console during the week – only on the weekends and then even for less that 90 minutes. She reads a lot, she plays outside….the list of her good habits goes on and on and on.

But the attitude is a little dodgy sometimes. She tries to control every situation and will point out details and little shortcomings on my part often and the respect wanes in the way she speaks and acts at times. But as I write this, I also realise that in fact, this does not happen as often as what I might think. But what does worry me is that I seem to pointing out her faults and mistakes to her more than maybe I should.  I do praise her for her goodness, her dedication and her good work but when I point out the error in her ways, I get a look of disappointment – as though I have failed somewhere. I just want her to grow up being the adult that I know she can be – because she is our child we cherish and love and my friends all point out that we are lucky.

So my big question I suppose is – how do you give guidance without breaking the spirit? How do I become a successful mom of a tween so that my tween can be a successful, fulfilled adult?

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~ by ski holidays on May 28, 2008.

3 Responses to “Tween!”

  1. You have my rapt attention while figuring this out!

  2. What does your husband do while you suffer? The lazy bugger.

  3. @ Fairbanks – I will definitely keep you updated on the progress I am making…
    @ AA – actually he has his own problems – he is a TWEEBAND – you know those male individuals that balance precariously between being a husband and being a tween! 😉

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