WTF happened to my daughter? This is basically what I say on a daily basis now that I’m parenting a tween. I mean don’t get me wrong, I LOVVVVVE the crap out of her… when she’s actually my daughter and doesn’t resemble Heath Ledger playing the Joker. Tweens are fun, aren’t they?! Yay! FYI, that last bit was written in the sarcastic font.
Anyways, I will be the first person to admit that I don’t know WTF I’m doing and I pretty much feel like I’m failing miserably all the time. Despite that, I have learned a few things so far. Enough to fit on a post-it note. So here goes, here are ten things I’ve learned about parenting a tween:
1. To talk less and listen more. There are two things that happen when I talk too much. A. She doesn’t get to vent her feelings. And B. She starts tuning me out and stops listening to anything I say.
2. To try not to fix her problems all the time. Sometimes all she wants is for me to say, “Yeah, that sucks,” and follow it up with a hug and some ice cream. Well, she doesn’t really want the hug but I give it to her anyway.
3. To go lie on her bed sometimes even if she doesn’t ask for it. Will she complain? A little. But the way I see it, if she doesn’t come to cuddle in our bed anymore, we need to go to hers once in a while.
4. Not to let her rain on everyone else’s parade. She’s allowed to be in a crappy mood. She’s allowed to walk around without a smile on her face. She’s allowed to sulk quietly. But if she’s wailing, or stomping, or biting people’s heads off, she’s ruining their day too, and that’s not okay.
5. To talk about suicide and not avoid the subject. I know it feels like I’m putting the idea in her head, but really I’m just letting her know if the idea ever pops into her head, there’s always a better answer. Plus, having the conversation teaches her it’s not a taboo subject. She’s always allowed to come talk to me about it.
6. To be her punching bag, not her doormat. At the end of a bad day, I am the person she can cry to, vent to, and unload her feelings on. I am there to help absorb her pain. But I am not there to be treated like dirt. If she wants that, I will buy her a doormat.
7. Not to walk on eggshells around her. No matter how fast she’s growing up, I will always be older than her. She doesn’t rule the roost. I do. And if I’m afraid of her, that mean she’s in charge, and that’s not good for anyone.
8. Not to make up problems that aren’t there. If she’s having a problem, by all means I can worry about it. But lying awake at 2am letting my mind spin out of control and making up problems that aren’t even there is a waste of energy. I need to ask myself, is this her problem or MY problem?
9. To apologize to her when I screw up. Like I said, I’m failing miserably all the time. But if I can admit to her when I make a mistake, hopefully she’ll do the same. Whether she’s sorry she yelled at me, or she’s sorry she she spilled nail polish on the carpet, or she’s sorry she tried vaping, or she’s sorry she accidentally got pregnant and needs my help. I hope she can always come to me with her mistakes so we can figure them out together.
10. To give her space when she needs it. I love sitting alone on the couch, or taking a walk by myself, or reading a magazine in peace, or sitting at the bottom of my closet where no one can find me. I need my alone time to stay mentally happy. And maybe she does too.
Hey you guyyyys, I have EXCITING news!!! I wrote another book and you can pre-order it NOW!!! If you liked I Heart My Little A-Holes, you’re going to LOVE Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow up to be A-Holes. It’ll make you laugh, cry, laugh until you cry, and help you feel like you’re doing a kickass job. Because you are.
If you liked this, please don’t forget to like and share it. Thank you!!