If you have a 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 or 12 year old, the chances are you’ll recognise most of this list. How many ring true for you?
- Their Birthday and Christmas lists start to feature less toys and more clothing, computer games and (expensive) tech. It’s goodbye to shopping in toyshops and hello to anything that requires a charger (and don’t under-estimate how often they will steal yours).
2. They spend longer and longer in their bedroom and less time with you. When they were little, you longed for these days when their ever-presence felt stifling, but now that they’re here, you look back wistfully and secretly hope that they will ask to spend the evening with you again.
3. Leaving their bedroom is like a trip to Ikea – you come out with unexpected armfuls of glasses, plates, bowls and towels.
4. Their trainers start to smell like those of an adult. One day you sniff and wonder what the awful smell is in your home and realise that the culprit is your child’s shoes. They smell like they belong to a 46 year old man who has run two marathons in a day. Gone are the days of kissing those sweet baby scented toes – now you’re frantically googling if odour-eaters are really effective.
5. You’re no longer mummy, or daddy, but mum/mom and dad, or – sometimes even just your first name; which isn’t all bad, as at least it reminds you of what you’re actually called, since everybody now refers to you as “XXXXX’s mum” or “XXXXX’s dad”.
6. They start to take an interest in your toiletries and make-up and spend more time in the bathroom. If you use hair gel, expect to buy twice the amount you used to and consider investing in shares of Lynx and Impulse.
7. You start to feel the urge to get a dog, to fulfil your need to nurture something as a baby once again and have at least one member of the family who still idolises you.
8. You still feel a twinge of broodiness when you walk past a newborn, but now you’re glad you’re out of the stage and have full nights of sleep and a house free of baby paraphernalia and loud toddler toys and the thought of going back fills you with a slight sense of dread.
9. They start to speak in weird code words (dench, peng, dead and allow anyone?) and anacronyms (LMHO – laughing my head off FYI) and cringe when you use words like ‘cool’ (or try to use the same words that they use).
10. They tease you about your taste in music and listen to music that you’ve never heard of (hello Marshmello – no, not the stay puft type, and BTS – of K-POP fame; yes, more anacronyms!).
11. They start to have a real opinion about what’s fashionable and what isn’t (all of the clothes you used to buy them) and shopping trips start to become fraught with tension when you both dislike each other’s choices.
12. You struggle to understand anything they are doing at school and secretly dread them asking you to help them with their homework, since you have no idea what a fronted adverbial or simultaneous equation are.
13. They pretend that they no longer care about Halloween and dressing up for World Book Day, however once you persuade them to join in, you catch a glimpse of the excited little kid that they once were (they’re still there, beneath the spots, grunts and backchat!).
p.s: you still love them like crazy though – tween oddities and all!
If you have a tween, or soon-to-be tween, and you’d like to learn how to approach puberty, behaviour, education, relationships, screens, sleep, body-care, raising them to be an ally and more – then you may want to check out Between – *the* guide for parents of 8-13 year olds. Available to order now in the: UK, Australia, USA/Canada and Elsewhere in the world
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