Day 21: Independence and Support: Lessons in Tween Parenting

The boy's educational reading. Palindromes!

The boy’s educational reading. Palindromes!

It was one of those weekends where everyone seemed to grow up really fast.

We spent some time organizing drawers and pulling out the clothes and shoes (so. many. shoes.) that the kids have outgrown, so there was that very tactile reminder that my littles are no longer so little. There was also less tangible growing. . .growing up, and maturing, and learning new things about ourselves.

1: The girl

Friday night: The girl was invited to attend a pre-state cross country team spaghetti dinner. In fact, the whole family was invited. When we asked our girl if she wanted us to come with her, she didn’t answer right away.

She looked at her feet.

She squirmed a little.

She muttered something like, “Uhhhhhhhh. . .”

She didn’t want us to come, but she didn’t want to hurt our feelings by saying so, the sweetie. We let her off the hook, and I called the parents who were hosting and explained that though we’d love to meet them, we’re trying to let the girl spread her wings in this way when it’s safe to do so.  She had so much fun.

Saturday night: The team, after their big race (they got 5th place!), decided they should celebrate at the local Laser Tag facility from 6-8. This was our girl’s first Saturday night out without any parental supervision. It’s weird, because she’s only 11, but before she left I sat her down and talked to her about how we trusted her, and we trusted her teammates, but they weren’t going to be the only kids there. We talked about how someone might offer her a cigarette, or alcohol, or drugs that they snuck in. We talked about never going outside the laser tag building, especially with boys.

I was not that much older than she was when these things presented themselves. I was certainly young enough that nobody thought they had to make a thing out of it yet, and I could have used a little more coaching. It felt weird, but I was glad I did it.

She had fun. The worst that happened is that she had to leave the haunted laser tag room before they were finished out of sheer terror. Poor girl.

Big girl. Doing big girl things. It’s a whole new world.

2: The boy

The boy is 8, and his room is horrifying. His room could be the setting of a haunted laser tag experience, honestly. He and I worked for two hours together to get it back to normal, and to help create some functional organization that could keep it from getting that bad again.

During that time, he told me that he feels like he learns more from reading books than he does at school, which I found fairly insightful from, again, an 8 year old.

He also told me that, okay, he admits, having a clean room does make him feel more focused and relaxed.

Big boy. Figuring himself out pretty well.

Just this weekend, I feel like we entered an entirely new parenting phase,  where the balance of kid independence and parental support provided shifted forever. Crazy tweens. Has this happened in your house?

6 thoughts on “Day 21: Independence and Support: Lessons in Tween Parenting

  1. “I was not that much older than she was when these things presented themselves. I was certainly young enough that nobody thought they had to make a thing out of it yet, and I could have used a little more coaching.”

    I think that’s the part we all forget about. Had a heart-to-heart with my girl about the internet. She looked at me like I had a third eye but I felt it needed to happen.

    Like

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