We often hear moms saying – where did my baby go, baby, don’t grow up too fast and so on. Very true isn’t it? Kids indeed grow up big and bigger in a flash of a moment! Toddler now, tween / teen next moment.
I still 100% clearly remember their pre-birth and birth stories, those tiny feet and hands, that pinkish delicate skin, those first hair, those massages and bath, that beautiful post-bath fragrance of their forehead, milk times, poop times, vaccinations and everything in-between. How come those moments slipped away from my hands so so fast? Well, that’s the reality.
Baby, toddler, pre-schooler, Lower primary and then comes the stage when your little baby is already a tween or a teen. Rollercoaster ride for any parent it is.
My Daughter is in her tweens and will become a teen soon. Wow, this phase is something that I was so unprepared for. Or rather I thought this is my child whom I have been raising for last 10 years and I know every single thing about her – her likes, dislikes, food habits, study habits, clothes choices – everything!
Are you in the same boat like me, then time to pause, think and rethink. Introducing a completely new person – your tween – it’s the same child but yet so different.
My 5-Point guide to understand your tween or early teen is here – completely based on my own experience:
Embrace the change –
Just a few months back, this kid used to follow all or at least most of the suggestions of the parents. Now suddenly what happened – Why there is this adamant know-all attitude? Why there is this rebellion streak? Why so many mood swings? Completely natural I would say.
This age their hormones are changing, their minds are changing too. They are smarter, more independent and are observing their surroundings with more keenness. Tweens have their own little world now – not that parents are out of their world but yes, friends occupy quite a large space now. Also YouTube stars, Fashion icons!
Tweens can get quite fierce when it comes to parents advice. They might find it boring, annoying etc etc. They also think that they know better – about study, about world.
So what do a parent do? Sudden change for a parent as well actually because we are still in that “my baby” mode. As a parent, all we can do is wholeheartedly accept the change. Not that you are going to love it but who loved those sleepless nights when Our toddlers were teething and crying and getting colicky? Yes, it’s a phase just like those terrible twos and troublesome threes.
Parenting is after all 24×7 learning process as we all know. And one more thing – do remember your own tween / teen age behaviour.
Patience, patience –
Remember those times when this kid used to howl at the TOP of its voice to demand milk or used to throw tantrum when it comes to sharing? What we used to do? We used to joke about it, we used to pursue them and we used to handle the situation tactfully. Time to bring back those skills.
Handle with care I would say. No idea when the tween will feel happy and when will feel sad or angry. There’s so much going on in their little minds and brains and it’s overwhelming even for them.
If we start reacting the same way to their tantrums, things are going to get difficult. Patience, patience – parents should keep telling each other.
For parents too, it’s not that easy to always maintain their cool since they are also putting lots of hard work for the kids working day in and day out. But still, take a deep breath and go steady.
Be prepared to Change yourself –
You cannot be the same “my baby, so cute, love you, pamper you, awww” kind of a parent. You believe or not believe but the kid is a tween now.
Those once upon a time fairy tales will suddenly become boring, the cartoon that tween used to watch will look like “babyish” to them. Usual chats might not interest them. Their lingo will be revamped now and LOL, IDK will take over.
So, yes, as a parent, we have to unlearn certain things and learn new stuff. Be a bit more techie, be a bit more fashion conscious, act a bit younger and essentially start transitioning from the parent role to this new role – more Friend and less philosopher.
Have some really hi-Profile conversations with them, talk about world affairs, indulge in some silly gossip about celebs, take them on shopping dates and so on. Basically, treat them like “big children”.
Involve spouse and younger siblings –
In my case, my hubby is far more matured and thinks from all perspectives. When you are getting to know this new person AKA your tween/early teen, please feel free to take the support of your spouse. After all, both of you have made this kid and both love it. When you discuss among yourselves, it’s easy to analyse the behaviour of the tween.
In fact, you can even take help of younger siblings. These little people are very smart and they will provide lots of insights about their elder Sister or Brother to you. Example: what they like, who’s their Best Friend.
You are still a Parent and the tween is a child –
Let’s make it clear to the tween too. You are their Friend but there will be boundaries to follow and parent has the veto power. They actually know that as well.
After all, your baby has become big but insides of inside, tween is a child – that same kid who was so dependent on you for every little thing. They love their parents and will always seek your advice.
Hugs, kisses might become a bit less frequent but that love for parents is forever. Those phone calls complaining about the School Friend or occasional request to make them sleep or sudden “I love you” or “Are you feeling well?” is proof enough that my baby is always mine – small or big!
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Disclaimer: images are my own or taken from internet search. All the views expressed here are based on my experience.