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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

In BeTween

Most of the bloggers that I read have young children.  Many still in the Toddler Years and just getting into the Terrible Twos.   For me, the Terrible Twos are just a sweet, fading memory.  My son, J, is twelve.  Twelve!  And he is an old twelve, a mature twelve, at least in the physical sense.  He is now taller than me (I'm 5'6"!), he has reached his dad's shoe size (11), and he has hair growing.  Everywhere.

So J is much less of a child and more of a teen.  Or tween, as they say.  And he is right smack-dab-in-the-middle of the Terrible Tweens.  Nobody warned me of this.  I didn't realize that my sweet little boy would all of a sudden turn into an awkward, deep-voiced, lanky, lazy, attitude-giving TWEEN overnight!

Oh, the joys.  Overall, J really is a good kid.  And I understand that tweens are growing up and they crave privacy, individuality, freedom.  They want to do things on their own and not tell Mom and Dad about every minute of their day.  I want to back off, to be a bit more trusting and more lenient.  But man, it's hard.  How can we let him make more decisions for himself when he doesn't even take care of his own body?  Seriously, if we didn't nag at tell him to shower/brush his teeth/wash his hands every day I don't think he would ever do it!  And there are so many serious pressures, temptations and other tweens out there just waiting for him to give in or make a bad decision.  I often wonder if we're doing all we can for him.  Have we taught him enough about Right from Wrong?  About respect of others and of himself?  I hope so, I really do.

J will start high school next month.  He is registered in the sports program offered at the school.  They do half-days of classes and the other half is spent training in their chosen discipline (baseball in his case).  Academics is their first priority and they insist on good grades and hard work.  I believe they provide more guidance and attention to the students in this group than the kids in the "general population" and I am very happy about this.  J needs structure and he loves sports, so it's a winning combination.  The kids in the sports program have their own section of the school.   They stay in that section together and they have separate lunch breaks from the rest of the students in the school.  I hope this prevents him from meeting people who could potentially be bad influences.  I don't want him to start smoking/drinking/experimenting with drugs any time soon.  Don't get me wrong, I know that the kids in the sports program aren't all angels either, but I know that if they are caught doing these types of things, it will not be tolorated and they will be dismissed from the program.  They have a lot to lose.  I hope J keeps that in mind.

Yesterday was a civic holiday, which meant a day off from work for me.  J had received money from his grandparents to buy some back-to-school clothes so I decided to take him shopping for the day.  Initially, the purpose of this post was to vent about his defiance yesterday morning and how he hurt my feelings.  But as the day went on, his attitude improved and we had a nice time together.  So I will put my frustations aside and just blame his behavior on hormones!


  1. I can only imagine the tween angst. I already get hurt feeling from my five year old, what will she do to me with more powerful words? I don't remember where this bit if advice came from, but I recently heard that when kids reach their teens, it's time to stop talking and start listening. They can't hear you any more, but you can. I remember shutting off from my parents. I remember being certain theta could never understand my world. They did.
    It sounds like you have thought a lot about what is best for J, how to help him succeed in life and school. You are an example of kindness and respect. He will carry all of that into his new independence.

  2. In my development classes, the professors often, jokingly, referred to the teen years as synonymous with the toddler years.

    As difficult and exhausting little kids are, teenagers bring their own set of challenges. They seek independence and forcefully push themselves away from you. It is basically the test of whether you had prepared them well when they were younger (not to scare you.) Something I have noticed with me, my siblings, and other friends' teens is that if you have done your best to teach them right from wrong, they will most likely avoid those temptations that you mentioned longer than those who were not taught by their parents.

    Anyway,that sports program sounds awesome!

  3. @Kate:
    Yes, the "stop talking and start listening" comment sounds familiar. It's hard to find a good balance for everyone. Hopefully we'll work it out together.

    Thanks once again for your kind words, Kate!

  4. @Amber:
    Ha - I'm not surprised that your profs compared teens to toddlers! So much to learn, so many new things, so many growth spurts and temper tantrums! :-)

    I guess I have to get used to some of the secrecy. It's true - I did it too when I was a teen and I had a wonderful relationship with my mom! I just really want to have an open relationship with him so that he can feel comfortable talking to us about anything.

    Yes, I think the sports program really WILL be awesome! I can't wait to see how he likes it. He is really excited about it and has several friends who are in it or starting so it should be good for him.

    Thanks for your comment, Amber!

  5. Oh you have my empathy! Tweens are harder than older teens I think, except for the driving thing. And boys (generally) are easier than girls - um - on their mothers, at least.

    Something I still have to remind myself - sometimes they say things that hurt, and they really don't mean to do so. And while we still have to keep a close eye on them (and we do), we can try to give them some space while they're doing it. And there's a fine line between secrecy and privacy. What may feel like being shut out, to us, is simply learning about boundaries and privacy, to them.

    As for the teens-toddlers link - YES! Teens are tots with facial hair

  6. Ha ha - thanks for the link, BLW! It was a great post and I can't wait to read more!

    And thanks for your wise words. As for teen girls... that's coming, too! I have a 5-going-on-15-year-old daughter! But I don't even want to THINK about that yet!

  7. My oldest is a girl. I'm hoping she'll break me in (probably not gently) to all that is Teen Angst. Then, my boys will be a breeze. If I'm emotionally still standing, that is. I look forward to more posts about this, Shannon, so I can file away some notes! =>

  8. Yeah, Stacia. I think I have it all backwards, unfortunately because you're right - dealing with a girl first will make dealing with your boys seem simple! Good luck!

  9. I love the concept of J's school and can't wait to hear how he likes it.

    As for hormones, I do not look forward to the tween years. My 9 year old seems to be hurtling toward them fast and furious. He made me come look at a bump on his nose that he swore was a pimple. It's not. It's just a bug bite. Poor guy!

    I'm hoping we have a few more hormone-free years!