Tween: noun. a youngster between 10 and 12 years of age, considered too old to be a child and too young to be a teenager.
Dictionary.com has all the answers, doesn’t it? No, no it doesn’t. When I typed in “How to deal with a tween?” my computer froze and smoke filled the room. Apparently they are all definitions and no legitimate tips for parents with a tween living under their roof. Well, lucky for you, I have all the answers. (No, I don’t).
My daughter loved me….for a really long time. She thought I was funny and that I had “pwitty” hair. For 11 years, we were princess pals, movie chicks and pedicure divas. She hugged my squishy belly and caressed my hand while we read books together. Now, well now, I’m gross and old and questioned about every single thing I do. “Are you leaving the house with your hair like that?” I mumble something inappropriate under my breath, put on a hat and cry all the way to Starbucks. Where I proceed to fork over 7 bucks so that the person who just insulted me can enjoy a blended coffee beverage. I am the mom of a tween. She is brilliant, beautiful, talented and makes comments like this, fairly frequently. “Mom that is such an old person thing to say. Gross.”
When I was between the ages of 10 and 12, I was considered a kid who dreamed about being a teen, but back when dinosaurs roamed the Earth, we had no special title for the three years running through 5th and 7th grade. I lovingly called it “waiting for your period and hoping to hell it doesn’t come while you are wearing white shorts, in front of boys, during gym class.” It’s a special time to be a girl. You blossom, you mature and you begin to realize that your parents have no clue what they are doing. And you capitalize on that fact.
I’m learning a few tricks that may help when your son or daughter hits that in between stage, referred to now as the tweens.
- Any picture taking event is an immediate no. If you threaten to post any photos anywhere on the internet, you will be given the silent treatment until your tween really needs toilet paper or a Starbucks coffee.
- Don’t try to look pretty. You will only be described as “mommish” or “old fashioned”. Just stay in your sweats and save yourself the heartache.
- You are at your coolest when you have cash. To share with your tween. I suggest getting a fishing pole, tying a hundred dollar bill to the end and taking a trip to the mall. You string them along and tell everyone that you went shopping with your tween. They won’t be seen with you otherwise.
- Kiss your spouse. Frequently and with lots of tongue. Tweens are in an awkward stage of not understanding the joy of mouth to mouth contact. Yet. Keep it that way by allowing them to see “old folks” lick each other’s faces off.
- Napping is cool again. If you can get rid of everyone else in the house, this is an activity that you and your tween can enjoy together. By together, I mean at the same time because clearly you are not allowed in their room.
- In need of a compliment? Mention to your tween that the new midnight movie premiere still has a couple of tickets left. Bask in the overflowing gratitude your tween has for you, as the perfect mother and most beautiful woman on the planet. Record if possible, for use on days when you ask your tween to do chores, finish homework or smile at a family party. You’ll need the reminder.
Now you have all the tools you will ever need to deal with your tween; deep pockets, a sense of humor, acceptance of your elderly state and the knowledge that one day that tween person will have to pay for their own Starbucks. When that miraculous day comes, you can finally recoup on your investment when you hear on the other end of the line; “Mom, can I grab you a latte while I’m here.” It isn’t that far off.
Mandy Brasher has been married to her partner in crime for thirteen years and together they have two kids. She graduated from The Utah College of Massage Therapy and spent two years studying writing at Utah State University. She is currently working with her husband at their online apparel business, blogging daily and writing a book. Mandy loves to travel, cook, do yoga and read. Follow her sass mouth and unexpected adventures.