"I don't want to go there anymore. That's for little kids." "When can I start wearing makeup?" "Can I ask that girl out?" Those are all questions older tweens may ask. When your tween is becoming a teen, it can be both difficult and rewarding at the same time. All the fun you had is evolving into something different. How does a parent deal with the realization that their tween is turning into a teen right before their eyes? As a parent who's been through this twice and is in the middle of it again with two more, here's my advice.
Step back and observe. Take a look at how your tween is behaving. It can be hard to realize your tween is growing up. But once they hit age eleven or twelve, it's time to hit the sidelines and come up with an entirely new strategy. Soon your tween will become a teen and it's a whole
Letting go is hard, but necessary. Teens need much more space than younger kids. Not only are they likely going through an emotional roller coaster. But being independent is a big part of growing into the adult stage. When your tween starts to become a teen, it's the perfect time to prepare yourself by letting go of certain things. Let your tween make certain choices in preparation for becoming a teen. You can't (and shouldn't) control everything.
You're still in charge, but in a different way. Now, just because you will let go of some things when your tween becomes a teen, it doesn't necessarily mean you aren't the boss. You still have the final word and your tween should know this. However, your tween needs to also feel secure in making some decisions without your help. This will become even more necessary once your tween matures into the teenage years. Just choose your time together wisely and pick your battles.
Take it one step at a time. It's not going to be easy letting go of your baby or realizing that baby is getting closer to becoming an adult. Just relax and take things as they come. Ease yourself into the process by slowly giving up things within reason. Talk to parents who have been down that road before. Your tween is likely going to be acting differently than a few years ago. There will be new interests, new friends, more mature looks, and possibly a new attitude. It's all a natural part of life, as hard as it may be to watch unfold. For every difficult moment, there will be many happy ones. Always remember that.
Find different activities to share. Just because your tween is turning into a teenager, it doesn't mean you can't still have fun together. But your tween's idea of fun may be entirely different than before. Listen your growing child's opinions and choices and let them be heard. Savor the memories from your prior family destinations and activities. Then, make new ones to treasure that go along with your growing teen's needs. Trips to the mall may start to involve movie play dates and makeovers instead of the kiddie play area and ice cream cones. Find out those new things your tween is into and learn how to make them work for you both. Who cares if you don't like the latest band? Take your tween to that concert or buy the music anyway.