I started the whole “adult thing” pretty young. Married at 18, my daughter was born when I was 21, my son when I was 23. Now, at 33 years old, I’m so thankful I ripped off that band-aid so quickly over a decade ago…. except I’m now faced with a 12 year old girl (and almost 10 year old boy), and most days, I feel like I’m entirely too young to be dealing with this. So far, so good, but I seriously wish someone had given me some tips a few years ago of what to expect from the tween years, especially when it came to dealing with my daughter…
1. Your clothes and accessories do a disappearing act. That favorite blue shirt of yours? Consider that your daughter’s new Monday shirt. Those special occasion earrings you have tucked away? Those go perfectly with her skinny jeans and black tank top. Nothing in your closet is sacred anymore; you just now have a free boutique in your bedroom… or that’s how your daughter will see it, at least.
2. Either buy stock in over-the-counter acne treatment products, or save yourself a headache and head straight to the doctor. When the acne started, we tried just about every cream, wash, lotion and spot treatment available. Unfortunately, nothing worked because an 11 year old is still in denial about her acne, and most days is too lazy to implement a new face-wash routine. So, if you enjoy banging your head against a wall and throwing away money, continue trying products from your local grocery store. Or, save your sanity a little by heading straight to the doctor and getting a prescription-grade acne cream. Even if they only use it once a week, it still works better than non-prescription stuff.
3. “Boys have cooties” no longer works. Now your tweenaged daughter is weighing the possibility of a cootie outbreak because that 8th grade guy is “just so cute”. We took the honest approach with our daughter- STD’s, teenage pregnancy- fell just short of showing her birthing video from 12 years ago before she threw her arms in the air with a look of pure dread on her face and declared that she fully understood. She’s almost 13 years old and hasn’t had a boyfriend yet or even her first kiss, so I’m counting that as a parenting win right now.
4. Learn to extreme coupon, or prepare for your grocery bill to double. My daughter is a bottomless pit when it comes to food. She can eat an entire meal, with seconds, and be hungry 20 minutes later. So when you are doing your grocery list, and counting servings of meals, count your 11/12 year old as 2 servings, as crazy as that is to grasp. And if your tweenager plays sports- may God have mercy on your grocery bill.
5. Multiply your PMS symptoms times two. Women who are around each other constantly generally have their monthly cycles sync together. This is completely true from the moment your daughter starts her period. So, that monthly craving of melted peanut butter poured over a chocolate bar and topped with miniature marshmallows and walnuts? Either plan to share or make her get her own bowl, because she will want some. And because both of your moods will be swinging like pendulums, it’s probably best if you avoid each other for a day or so. If not, the non-female members of your household’s heads might explode.
Related post: The Multiple Personalities of a Tween Girl