Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The New Frontier of Parenting: Tweens

Cooper visits sweet Ruby once a week to help with school work.  She has such a sweet disposition!   

A few days ago, Collin had a preschool friend over for a play date. The two boys rearranged matchbox cars and zipped around our sidewalk on bikes.  I watched the action and smiled.  Four year olds are easy, I determined.  Really all they require are a few toys and active imaginations.

I get four year olds.

I don't get ten year olds.

I have a ten year old.  He's my oldest.  He's past the age of play-doh and picture books, but he's not quite into the world texting and Facebook.

He peppers me with request after request:

Can I read the "Hunger Games"?

Can I watch "The Avengers"?

Can I ride my bike around the neighborhood by myself?

Can I drink Sprite?

Can I have a phone?

I miss the age where the question was "Sesame Street or Dora?"

He complains that I always say no.

I tell him he's just not asking the right question.  There are many questions I would happily reply in the affirmative.  ("Mom, can I clean my room?")

He's pushing us into virgin parenting territory and we're terrified.  Truthfully, most of the time we don't know how to respond.  Saying no is least for us.

A friend with older children recommended that I enter the tween years with as much preparation as I gave to welcoming a newborn.  She reminded me that when I was trying to figure out baby sleep schedules and toddler tantrums, I turned to books and wise advice from seasoned friends and families.  My friend suggested using the same tools to guide us into the newest phase of our parenting journey.

Her advice was helpful.  I realized we need to enter the next stage of parenting armed with good advice and ready for whatever life brings.

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