My youngest child is on the brink of age 11, wandering into the world of tween life. I get glimpses of the innocent playful version of her but I’m never quite sure if I need to put on the boxing gloves any given morning for the sassy tween entering the ring. Since she is my third go into this match I thought I’d give you all some of the lessons I’ve learned about having a tween in the
boxing ring house.
Here are six of the lessons learned from my sassy tweens.
1. It’s OK if she wants to live in her bedroom.
I did it, you did it, and we lived without the extra family time. Do check-ins, don’t barge in, politely knock, and ask if she needs anything. She’ll know you are there. Speaking of bedrooms…
2. Dirty dishes will pile up on his nightstand.
Don’t get mad, it doesn’t help. I have also found that politely asking to bring the dirty dishes to the kitchen doesn’t work either. I suggest you stand outside of the said bedroom with a pot and wooden spoon and start drumming and singing, “I think it’s time for a dirty dish round-up!” Sung in your best Mirabel from Encanto singing voice.
3. He’s going to smell.
I can let you know before you think this is a judge on your parenting abilities, they all smell. If you walked into a fifth-seventh grade classroom and asked the teacher, yup, they all stink. I find writing little reminders on the bathroom mirror with a window crayon serves as harmless reminders. Write, put on deodorant, or brush teeth, hair, etc.
4. There will be attitude.
Sassy tweens know how to stab your Mama heart. I’ve learned to not take it personally. When I mentioned to our middle school counselor how my middle child stopped saying I love you, he told me all the kids hate their parents. We are in this together! If you are reading this and still have smaller, loving children, go take a video of them doing something cute and saying they love you. You’ll want the proof later on.
5. Pick your battles.
This is a tough one because sometimes you are already in the ring when you realize this boxing match wasn’t worth the fight. Clothing battles, choice of television show or music, some food choice fights, arguing about going to a family gathering…most of these aren’t worth it. If the struggle already started, as in any relationship, stepping back to give you and your tween a breather is always a good idea. Come back and discuss when you’ve all cooled off. And always come back. Always.
6. When in doubt, get advice.
Advice from mom friends, grandma, books, all good ideas. I’ve gotten to know our middle school counselor very well over the years my older two kids were there. Invaluable resources in your corner will help you to know you are not alone and you are not going insane from your sassy tween.