She’s growing, she’s changing, she’s still your baby girl but something is different. Not necessarily bad different, just different kind of different. It’s amazing to see glimmers of your future teen but still have your sweet little girl most days (emphasis on ‘most days’). Hormones are beginning to effect her in so many ways most notably emotional changes. Again, these aren’t all bad emotional changes. Some of them show a smart, levelheaded way of thinking – assuring us that she’s maturing and learning. But some are a little more irrational/hormonal triggered. These changes, that are still new, have taught me a lot about understanding, communicating and ‘living’ with my tween-age daughter.
* Hormones = lower patience. Some days little things can trigger my tween to tears. They can be over the smallest things like realizing the shirt she wants to wear hasn’t been washed, the cereal she wants for breakfast has been eaten by her older brother, she can’t find her shoes. I’ve learned to help… a little. Reinforcing her that I care but giving her the responsibility and power to solve her own problem instead of getting angry at her reaction. I’m still working on not getting worked up over her irrational reaction…but if I follow my own advice more consistently, we’d live in greater harmony.
* Physical touch is important. This holds true for teen and tween boys too. My son and I hug often (sometimes even when he doesn’t want a hug) and I still tickle his back most every night. With my daughter, she needs this touch too. There’s something about physical touch that’s so powerful and as we get older, hugs and other physical touch happen less and less. But I’m insistent on being huggy (not sure if that’s a real word) and touchy as they get older.
* Always end the day with ‘I love you’ even if your tween is going to bed not too happy with you. I remember as a kid, I never wanted to go to bed unhappy. I never slept well, when I did. And I think those 3 little words, no matter how ordinary they sound, help reinforce to your tween that you love them and that the day is going to end on a positive note.
* Remember that she’s new to the emotions that are changing within her too. Being sympathetic and understanding makes a huge difference. No matter how hard it is to bite your tongue, remembering that this is normal and you just need to remain calm and in control. Parental respect is still a top priority. Being calm yourself will model calmness in high stress situations. Again, I’m still working on this too.
Having a tween is fun, wonderful and amazing. But I'm learning every day that there are challenges too. It’s a learning process for both of us and each child is different. I just have to remember that this is unfamiliar territory for her as well. We're in this together.
Side note: Below was a shoot I did about 2 weeks ago for FaithWorks4U (she's an amazing retro-modern dress dress designer). I loved doing this shoot but I'll remember this day forever for another reason. Right after this shoot, Brielle and I ran home, she changed and we grabbed Tyler and headed back to the Carnival. Brielle was so excited, unlike any excitement I'd seen from her. Maybe it was the spontaneity of it all, we stumbled upon this carnival by accident, or maybe it was just a side of her that was emerging. Either way, I loved it! Ty saw a group of friends from school and wanted to go on rides and hang out with them so it was just Brielle and me. She squealed, laughed, grabbed my hand and chatted with me in a way that was new. It was on this night that I really saw my little girl becoming a tween/teen. It was beautiful and amazing. I told her 'this night is amazing - I want to relive nights like that again and again with you'. It was a defining moment for me as her mom....the night I truly met my tween/teen daughter.