Recently, I was having coffee with a girlfriend who is a mother of three children. Her oldest is a 10-year-old girl or, in other words, a tween—too old for toys, too young for boys. I told her that my daughter sometimes seems like a three-year-old going on 13 with the clever things that come out of her mouth. She even behaves like a little lady sometimes, prancing around the house in my high heels and trying to paint her own nails.
My friend responded, “Just wait until the tween years.”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
I knew what the term tween was, but when people say that, what are they really getting at? I don’t remember being all that bad of a kid for my mom (well, maybe I was a little wild for one year between seventh and eighth grade.)
That’s what she meant.
Sometimes it comes in the form of rebellion other times it is just a mild case. It’s the angst of not being a kid nor a teen. You are stuck in be”tween.” Apparently, tween spirit can begin anywhere from eight to twelve years, give or take. This mom thought it was more prevalent in girls than in boys, but her boys are not old enough yet to have gone through it.
I’ve seen those giggly, cell phone toting, laughing, high-pitched chatty girls in the mall. They are usually by themselves because they’ve been dropped off for a couple of hours, or their parents have just let them go off for a bit on their own. You will have a better visual if you stand outside of stores like Justice and Delia; tween Mecca. My friend went on to tell me that it’s not just the bubble gum popping and bee-bopping that you have to worry about with tweens. It’s other things. Tweens nowadays go through much more serious things like diet fads, bullying, online chatting, and sexting.
What????? I was not prepared for that. My mind started racing to my own family in five years. Because I have a heel-wearing toddler now, does that give her a higher propensity for sexting later? I barely have time for texting or sex by themselves, let alone combining the two activities, and an eight-year-old is managing that?
I hate to sound like an old geezer here, because I know every generation had its own set differences There were parents—like me—who stood up and preached, “Back when I was a kid….” (Finish it how you’d like:)
“…I had to walk 3 miles to school, uphill in the winter.”
“…music was music, not this screaming rock.”
“…a gas was $1.”
It’s my turn now. I am going to say it…“Back when I was a kid, I was not dieting. I was not talking to strangers on the internet. Health class didn’t even mention sex until the fifth grade.”
I realize not everything should stay the same, and that technology provides outlets for kids that weren’t available when I was a tween. But, the thought of either of my Biz e-Babies doing any of the things her child or child’s group of friends were doing was downright frightening. There’s something about becoming a parent that gives you perspective on life. Even the most open-minded of people really can’t get it they go through it.
I thought back to elementary school and junior high. I remembered going with my mom to buy my first training bra at JC Penny — the kind that basically was two triangle pieces of fabric with adjustable straps and zero support.
I remembered when I was in 4th grade that I first got made fun of in gym class because I had hairy legs. (Dear Ken E., if you are reading this you told me I looked like a bear!) That night, I came home determined. Because my mom wouldn’t let me shave, I sat on the couch watching Who’s the Boss and clipping my leg hairs patch-by-patch with a cuticle scissors in rebellion. When, I was finished, my patchwork clipping resembled crop circles and mom gave in shaving my peach-fuzz with an electric razor. It was like shearing a sheep.
I remembered my best friend and I had BOP and Tiger Beat posters hung in our clubhouse. I had infatuations with Ralph Macchio, Rob Lowe, John Stamos and Kirk Cameron. I also liked older men such as Erik Estrada from the TV show Chips, and Bo Brady from Days of our Lives. (I wanted to be Hope.)
That was when I remembered thinking how cool it would be to play Prince’s “1999” song at a party in the actual year 1999 because it was so far in the future. Mind blowing! Then again, I thought there’d be flying cars by 2010 and we are all still driving on the same crappy roads—BORING. Maybe, things don’t change as quickly as we think they do.
That must have been my tween phase.
By the time my children are tweens, there will probably be more for me to worry about, so why bother stressing now? Today, I can relish the toddler years and hope our style of parenting helps my kids turn out OK. And, if my daughter wants to shave her beastly legs at age eight, I might let her.
- Which Tween Star Has a Vicious Eating Disorder? [Blind Items] (gawker.com)
- 7 ways to fix rude tween behavior (cnn.com)
- Cozi Uncovers What Tweens & Teens Are Really Doing Online (eon.businesswire.com)
- Tweens Posting Impassioned YouTube Videos After Justin Bieber Caught Kissing Jasmine Villegas (shoppingblog.com)
- Two Great Back to School Books for Tweens & Teens (prweb.com)
- Justin Bieber goes surfing with his biological father – some cool dad with tats (altreport.hipsterrunoff.com)