Parenting a Tween

14 12 2010

seems to be much like . . . (I would love some comments filling in the blank so that I know I’m not the only one!!)

Mine answer is running outside in the pitch black darkness with a few randomly placed streetlamps along the way.

I must add to the above statement that running at  night and in the dark terrifies me, much like parenting a tween : )  I don’t have much to complain about.  My kiddo is pretty fantabulous.  She’s taking 8th grade math in 6th grade and acing it.  She read over 4,000 pages in the last 6 weeks and she still enjoys being with her family – most of the time.

But then there’s the new things that are beginning.  We broke down and let her have a phone.  Don’t judge – she’s a responsible kid and stays after school for cross country and musical practice.  The texting has begun.  We have told her that we retain the right to read all texts (and emails for that matter), which I only occasionally do.  But when I do they are HI-larious!  The drama, the angst.  I am sad that 15 years from now she won’t find a box of notes in our basement and read all the silliness.  I got to do that and it was so fun!  Her silliness is lost in the cyber-world.

The new boy-liking has begun and while I was expecting this, I did have my first boyfriend in 5th grade after all, it has still thrown me for a loop.  I invested a lot of my time over the last 4 years coaching running groups for my daughter that are centered on self-esteem building.  We did Girls on the Run, Go Girl Go, I coach her swim team, you get the picture.   I think sports and positive self esteem are essential in raising my daughter so that while she knows we can read her texts, we don’t have to because there is nothing in there that would alarm us.

Having said that we are a no-pressure sports family.  Kind of funny considering the over the top competitive streak I have, but that’s another post.  We have deliberately only had our kids in a few sports, and even then only recreationally.  No, my kids won’t grow up to be Olympic athletes, but on the other had we sit down every single night and have dinner at the table as a family.  My hubby and I have discussed this at length and feel strongly that family time needs to trump sports for us.  It did for both of our families growing up.  Neither of us grew up with a sport of our own (or of one of our siblings) that was more important than family time.

I have lots of friends that manage to balance all star kids and still maintain a feeling of family.  I don’t know how they do it, so instead we stick to our method.  Hopefully a nice balance of some sports and lots of family support will all blend together into a well rounded, self-confident young lady that can make smart choices.

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6 responses

14 12 2010
Laura

I am paralyzed at the mere thought of this. (my daughter is only 4.5yo) We are similar in that we put them in activities FOR FUN and limit them to the number we can manage while having a focus on family. 🙂 Sounds like you are doing a fantastic job… and no judgment on the phone thing…. I learned long ago that you have no idea what life at any given stage is like… 😀 Can’t make any judgments until you’ve been there… and even then it’s still not a great idea. Each kid/person/family/situation is different!

14 12 2010
kate

what’s to judge?? they all have cell phones and there is nothing to be ashamed about that! cell phones make my life easier. my girl texts me when she needs to be picked up, when she babysits, and she uses it to socializes. I am A – OK with that. In fact, I feel sorry (strong language) for kids whose parents refuse to get on board with this. It’s totally fine. Anna is an amazing, smart girl and you are doing a great job parenting. For me, the mood swings are the worst. Other than that, I love my tween. and feel free to give anna sophie’s digits. i’ll email them to you 🙂

15 12 2010
Mark Olivieri

As someone who will have five teenagers in the house at one time—let me be the first to admit—I am scared to death.

I one time stupidly told my wife that the girls will all be okay because their two older brothers will keep the male suitors away, to which she replied, “you idiot… they are going to date their friends.”

Hmm… I sense a blog post here somewhere.

15 12 2010
Colleen Kingery

Sounds like you are doing all the right things… and on top of that, she sounds like a stellar young lady! 🙂

I have a box of notes from around her age and they too crack me up. The drama of a 6th grader!

16 12 2010
Jill

I can’t imagine… and I don’t want to think about it! 😀

17 12 2010
Mandy

I have friends with little girls reaching that age, and I can’t imagine how tough it is!

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