As a parent to a tween, I began to notice significant changes in her behavior when she hit the double digits. The changes were slow and sporadic at first. Then all of a sudden, like a freight train, she hit full tweenage mode. Tweenage is the stage when they’re considered too old for playdates but too young for real dates, and their attitude and hatred for everything is evident, just like a teenager.
These years are tough and trump everything up until this point. Needless to say, I take a lot of deep breaths and I try counting to 10, but with her grunts and stumps, I never make it.
Have a tweenager? Here are some things you should expect during these not-so wonder years.
1. 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.
2. Never, ever look them straight in the eye.
Direct eye contact can cause an onset of negative emotions. Remember they are always on the verge of an emotional breakdown.
3. Expect last-minute changes.
Always give yourself plenty of time to account for your tweenager’s indecisiveness. They are likely to change their clothes, hair, and/or shoes 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.
4. Don’t be offended by their dislike of everything.
They have very strong feelings about everything, and they’re generally negative. You will find that they like very little and hate everything else. Try not to take it personally.
5. 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.
6. 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’m going bra shopping today, want to come with me and get one for yourself?”
7. There will be 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 and wait for it to pass.
8. They’re 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.
9. Grunting is not abnormal.
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.
10. Complete lack of energy.
I can call this laziness, but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. 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. Good luck!
Related post: The Multiple Personalities of a Tween Girl