I have been living on the edge or living in denial or living in fear. Crap it might be a combination of all three. Most of all I have been asking myself over the past few weeks, which has become a colorful personal hell, if my child’s behavior is natural preteen behavior? Then that question is followed by well what is a preteen anyway?
Just calm down for a second!
Most articles, parenting books, marketing material for anti-psychotics, etc. say my child should not loose her mind until she is 10. According to my good friends at Merriam-Webster preadolescence is ”the period of human development just preceding adolescence; specifically : the period between the approximate ages of 9 and 12″. And Urban Dictionary says a Tween “is a girl ages about 9-14…too old for toys, but too young for boys.” (okay well what if she likes girls?) followed by “Very easy to market to, will usually follow any fashion trend set for them, will most likely go through the phase of ‘finding themselves’ as they ‘grow up.” And if you ask Peggy Orenstein it is a made up term by marketers in the 1980s, while interesting it doesn’t really help me for this situation so it gets filed away under the MMMMM, that’s interesting file.
Well that’s no help this kid is not 9 yet, crap she just turned 8. She is a wonderful and beautiful little girl who is curious and astoundingly loving one minute, then I turn my back for a second and she is rolling her eyes at me and muttering under her breath. There is the back talk, the freaking out about the littlest things at the drop of the hat, and the meltdowns/tantrums that have my PTSD from the toddler years acting up again.
Recently the mood swings got so intense they have been driving me to watch Mommy Dearest clips in the middle of the night to remind myself that I am actually a great mom.
So what happened, how did it get to be like this?
I first blame the Disney Channel, secondly the milk we have been drinking (damn hormones), and third I place full blame on my child’s brain and the massive amount of growth that is happening up there. Recently I watched a TED Talk on the teenage brain by Adriana Galavan, which not only made me feel smarter but put things into perspective fore me.
Sure the kid is only 8-years-old, but she is still growing and I have no idea what is going on in that brain of her’s. And really it comes down to that most of what is going on up there are massive exaggeration
s of little things. The best part this is only going to get worse as she reaches into high school.
So while my daughter may not be considered a tween/preteen just yet, she is well on her way and it is about time that I pull my resources together and prepare for the all out war that is going to take place in my home.
My first step to gaining back my sanity was to take a refresher course in breathing. Not only is it good for me to remind myself that I need to take a breath before I start yelling (otherwise you pass out) but to also not lash out in anger or frustration just because this little person might have hurt my feelings. Next step is to tell her to do the same thing, sure it is met with more eye rolling and maybe a slammed door, but I have put it out there and I didn’t turn into Joan Crawford nor did I pass out.
If that doesn’t work I plan to just let the chips fall where they may. Someone told me long ago that you can’t talk to crazy, and boy to I have no plan to when my kid has surely lost her mind.
And once the storm has subsided I have begun to take time to check in with myself (Yes, Wilson we did it. We survived) and then check in with my not-yet-preteen. These outbursts are exhausting and she needs to know that I love her even if she pushes me toward the edge.
So to all the parents of not-yet-preteens out there, stay strong. Labels and age ranges are just confusing. It’s only gonna get worse (well that’s if you read all the horror stories out there about middle school). No really middle school isn’t all bad (I have lived through that one and I must say this is worse). And if you haven’t told yourself you are going a great job – I will. You rock! Now go watch Faye Dunaway turn into an evil Joan Crawford right before you eyes.