As a parent of a tween I have noticed changes in his behavior ever since he hit double digits. Who am I kidding, those changes started when he was about 9. The changes were slow and subtle at first but then BAM! They came rolling in like a freight train! Tweenage is the stage when they’re considered too old for play dates but too young for real dates and their attitude and hatred for everything is evident, just like a teenager.
Do you have a tweenager? Here are some things you can expect at some point during these wonder years-
Mood subject to change without notice. Brace yourself, especially your neck because sudden changes in mood may cause whiplash. They can go from 0 to 10. Happy and smiling to angry tears in a blink of the eye. Don’t worry yourself trying to figure out what you did to cause this dramatic change. And NEVER ask! The answer is unknown and makes them even more angry!
Expect last-minute changes. Always give yourself plenty of time to account for your tweenager’s indecisiveness. They are likely to change their clothes, what they want to bring or even if they want to go, multiple times. Never make them feel rushed, or expect to never leave the house. As a general rule, set your clock at least 20 minutes fast.
Don’t be offended by their dislike of everything. They have very strong feelings about everything and it’s generally negative. You will find that they like very little and hate everything else. Even if they liked it last week. Try not to take it personally or fix it.
The tendency to roll their eyes. No need to call the doctor, rolling of the eyes is considered normal. You will mostly notice this eye behavior when speaking to or about them.
Beware of significant body changes. Not only will your tweenager’s attitude change, their body changes as well. Don’t make a big deal out of it but don’t ignore it. Walk a fine line here as not to embarrass them because they may or may not be happy for these sudden changes. Try a subtle approach, like this for example: “I have to go shopping and get your dad new underwear and deodorant, would you like to get some too?”
Uncontrollable fits of tears. We’ve already discussed the mood swings. But the mood swings are only the beginning because tears are likely to follow. I’m not talking one tear drop. Be prepared for the ugliest of all cries. Tears will flow endlessly, their breath will become short, which makes their speech inaudible. Don’t try to understand what they’re saying, don’t ask them to repeat. Simply nod your head, keep listening to the babbles and wait for it to pass.
Sometimes dangerous if you get too close. Never, never ever, get too close. Especially when they’re among their peers. Consider it a restraining order and you must stay at least 10 feet away. Fight the urge to show them affection, hugging is strictly prohibited. (We are just getting to this stage)
Grunting is not abnormal. In fact, you will notice it’s more of their language than you thought. You will find that you start to hear more grunts than words. Grunts are caused by a build up of emotions. When emotions start to build, the only sound that emerges is this deep-throated grunt in place of words. All grunts aren’t the same. The more you hear, the better you’ll be at understanding the differences. As a general rule though,the deep long grunts often mean “No”, “Not Now”, “But Mom” and other words of opposition. Grunts can sometimes be followed by loud stumping of the feet. I began to grunt back.
Complete lack of energy. I call this laziness but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. Doesn’t really want to go swimming, ride bikes or play anything that requires them to get up unless friends are involved and even then the friends can be talked into sitting on their butts playing video games. Besides, when you go through all the emotional ups and downs it can be extremely exhausting, for both you and your tweenager.
Be patient and bear with your tweenager. Remember this is just a phase. A phase that will last many years but still, just a phase. And it will pass. Soon they will be a full-blown teenager and everything you’re going through will be intensified tenfold. It will be so much fun!
I do condone spanking, taking things away, making them go outside and ruining their life by not letting them have any privileges. And Chores! Butt loads of chores!
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