Welcome to your tween years. Gulp. The final dance of childhood. When I consider that my child is about to shut the chapters of childhood and begin a new tale known as the teenage years, I get a little agitated. Tweendom is a magical time when our children need, don’t need, don’t want, and want us all at the same time! While your tween is more self-sufficient and requires less hands-on care than she used to, she still needs you more than you realise.
If you’re approaching the tween years for the first time, welcome, but be aware that it’s not all cheesy dramatic television series, unicorns, and Roblox. The tween world is a little sweeter, a little sassier, and a little more complicated than you might recall. So sit back and read these six things every parent of a tween girl should know.
1. Her body does things, sometimes
If your child stinks at times, don’t be surprised. If your little girl develops body hair or develops body development, don’t be startled. To be honest, it’s a touch painful to watch your girl grow into the next stage of womanhood. There will be a large part of you that wants to protect her, another that will be incredibly proud of her, and yet another that will be shocked at how rapidly she transformed without even asking!
Also, don’t be startled if your child isn’t progressing at the same rate as her friends. Don’t be surprised if she’s still plodding along, despite the fact that some of her peers are sprouting like weeds. Tweendom is an universe where bodies are strikingly different — at once reminiscent of childhood and yet the start of a new creature you haven’t met yet.
Your child hasn’t either.
2. Her body sometimes even does the biggest thing
Don’t be surprised if your tween gets her period, even if you didn’t get yours until later. Some girls begin their menstrual cycles sooner than others, so be prepared to treat it differently than you would if she were older if your tween begins her period.
If your tween starts her period early, she’ll need a lot more guidance, support, and direction because, as I mentioned before, she’s still doing her last dance of childhood, and how many kids want to break their play to deal with a period?
None. Not even us grown-ups!
As a result, you might find yourself doing a lot more coaching as you support her through this major transition.
Three top tips: be positive, be encouraging, and try out tween period underwear. You’ll just wish you had them when you first started having your period. At any age, no girl’s life should be disrupted by her menstruation. Assist her in accepting the change and moving on.
3. She will vacillate from baby to big girl in .2 seconds
If your tween says, “I’ve got it, Mom,” or avoids your embraces as if you’re an alien trying to take her to another planet, don’t be surprised if she requests to sleep in bed with you or wants to play in the tub as she did when she was five years old a few seconds later.
Imagine your preteen girl on a seesaw: on one end, she wants to stand tall, looking down, and feeling self-assured. On the other hand, she craves the security of being near the earth, safe in her childhood, and surrounded by things she is familiar with.
She’s not an angry adolescent eager to abandon you in favour of her buddies, but she does like to test her independence now and then, knowing that you’ll still be there.
Expect her to alternate between the two worlds of little kid and big kid on a regular basis.
4. She may be thinking about romance — between same or opposite sex
It’s not uncommon for my child to tell me that one of her friends likes girls, or for my daughter to be aware of LGBTQ persons. We are allies of the community in my house!
Despite how taboo or infrequently mentioned this was throughout my own teenage years, circumstances have changed, and youngsters are more open about sexuality and identity (at least where I reside). Be prepared for queries or for friends (or perhaps herself) to reveal romantic sentiments for the same sex or the opposing sex.
What’s the bottom line? While my daughter is far too young to be concerned about romantic love, I remind her that it is natural for her to begin thinking about such things at her age. The most essential thing is for us to teach our daughters that their relationship with themselves comes first, followed by their relatives and friends.
In the tween years, romantic partnerships are mercifully uncommon (and shouldn’t be!). They’re too young for that, but it’s natural for them to consider, feel, and discuss love at this age.
5. She still needs coaching
Have you ever instructed your ten-year-old to wash his or her teeth three times? Then you understand what I’m talking about!
Your preteen still requires assistance. Some teenagers struggle to properly wash themselves, while others can’t seem to keep their rooms from appearing like they were hit by a tornado. It’s also not uncommon for you to be instructing your preteen on proper dining etiquette.
Even if you’d like to pass the baton and quit caring about such mundane activities, your tween still requires assistance. Of course, your tween may not agree that she requires assistance as she approaches adolescent independence, but insist and show her the way.
It’ll stick eventually… even though her room will always be a disaster!
Last but not least…
6. She needs support with her friendships
While her friends do not become her entire universe as they will in adolescence, they do become a larger part of their daily attention. They’re less likely to be entertained by you and more likely to want to be with their buddies wherever they are. Learning good friendship patterns is also vital at this age, as bodies and hormonal development begin for girls. Don’t be surprised if your tween feels left out, different from the other tweens, or has jealousy issues.
- Here are a few things that most preteen girls don’t know how to do — and where you can help:
- Having a constructive conversation with a friend about bad sentiments
- Learning online friendship-supporting behaviours — especially in today’s COVID world — is essential.
- Being able to express jealousy in a healthy way and comprehending the complexities of those feelings
- Increasing peer confidence
- Coping with negative emotions such as being left out, etc.
Help your tween girl manage with new feelings and interpersonal dynamics by teaching them how to cope! When kids enter the next chapter of their lives, the teen years, things will only get better for them. Not to mention the fact that, as a tween rather than “Ms. I Know It All Teenager,” your girl is more likely than ever to listen to you.
The teen years are a magical time when your girl is more fun, smart, and easy to talk to than she has ever been. But don’t overlook the complexity of this developmental stage. Our tween girls are counting on us!
- What age is a tweener?
Because they are between children and teens, youngsters aged 8 to 12 are referred to as “tweens.” It’s natural for children this age to want to be more autonomous from their parents.
- Is a 11 year old a tween?
Your child will enter the “tween” years when he or she is between the ages of 9 and 12. Tweens, also known as pre-teenagers, are at the age where they are transitioning from childhood to adolescence. With the onset of puberty during this stage, your child, and possibly you as a parent, will go through a lot of changes.
- What do girls need from their mom?
They want you to love them unconditionally, listen to whatever they want to talk about (as if you were a best friend), and be their mother above all else. Even the girls who refer to their mother as their best friend (like me!) have a strong mother-daughter bond to support that dynamic.
- Why are tweens so mean?
In most situations, changes in the tween and teen brain cause increased impulsivity and heightened emotions, prompting them to become unnecessarily angry or sad and out of proportion to the incident (from the parent’s perspective).