Friday, 15 March 2013

Pre-Teen Angst

I'm not sure that we had 'pre-teens' when I was their age. Maybe we did and I just didn't notice. I was too busy playing schools and travel agents with my sister.

But we certainly have them now. The 'not-quite-yet-but-would-like-to-try-it-out' tweenagers. They watch teenagers and try to be like them, copying the words they say and trying out the clothes they wear. They need a little bit more freedom. They don't want to be treated like little children anymore, but they're certainly not old enough to be treated like teens. And the hormones seem to be kicking in too.

This week we have experienced a taste of possible things to come. Arguments, mood swings, sulking, being their 'enemy'. But I don't want my boy's teenage years to consist of those apparent inevitabilities. I know plenty of teenagers who have great relationships with their parents, and I refuse to give up my boys to the grumpy monosyllabic expectations of teenage boys. Parents of teens may smile at my naivety, but I don't think this is inevitable and certainly isn't necessary.

The problem is, I don't know how to make this happen. We've never done this before. Give me toddler tantrums and I can keep calm in the face of a wild, screaming two year old (and believe me, I had some wild ones). Give me children who refuse to eat their tea or go to bed. Give me a child who won't put his shoes on for school. Let me plan a super-hero party. I can do those ones. I've been there and bought a shop full of t-shirts. But these new battles? I am as clueless as a new mother bringing her baby home for the first time.

So, for those of you wise parents of teenagers, I need some tips. What do we need to know before we hit those years? How can we prepare? What can we do to keep a good relationship going? How can we carry on having fun and laughing together? How do we stem the tide of grunts and isolation from the rest of the family? Or am I living in a dreamworld? Perhaps this blog will go down in history for me, like my pregnant-for-the-first-time self telling the world that I wouldn't be using dummies, only to plug the screaming mouth within 2 days of birth.....

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