Now that my daughter has reached her 12th birthday and we're less than 365 days away from the day she officially becomes a teenager, I've been thinking a lot about what it's been like to be her mom. I have to admit, attempting to be the parent of a tween has had its moments. There are times where my daughter and I have conversations as if we were best friends and then, an hour passes and we're arguing over homework, quizzes and projects.
I'm trying my best not to be that controlling parent that inevitably turns her child away from wanting to ever confide in her and yet I also want her to know that she can't walk all over me just because I'm trying to make sure she's happy.
After throwing her a birthday party with more than 20 kids at our house this past weekend, I have learned even more from her 12 year old friends. If you're the parent of a tween - see if you relate:
1. 12 year olds spill lots of things. Though they're no longer three years old, when it comes to a home party, 12 year olds still spill chips, soda and the chocolate crunchies that you find inside a Carvel cake on the one rug you have in your house.
2. 12 year olds need to be educated about the benefits of recycling. Case in point: I purchased 60 cups for the party, had about 20 kids attend and each kid used at least 3 cups and left the previous drinks filled to the brim and I was left throwing out all the cups. If that's not a word problem, I don't know what is.
3. 12 year olds will text one another even though they're in the same room. If they leave the room and head to another location, they will text even more. It's like having walkie talkies - without the talking part.
4. 12 year old girls will scream at the top of their lungs if they are in a room with more than a dozen of their friends.
5. 12 year old boys are much calmer than girls and will gravitate toward a gaming system if they get bored with girls screaming at the top of their lungs.
6. 12 year old girls will say mean things to each other. Hopefully, they will have friends who will call them out on their negative behavior and get them them to realize that being mean is totally uncool.
7. 12 year old boys who experience physical bullying will hopefully stand up to adversity or align with friends who look out for one another.
8. A 12 year old girl will have her heart broken by someone they really like.
9. A 12 year old boy will have his heart broken too.
10. A 12 year old will start taking exams that are really tough and will suddenly realize that if they don't study, they're academic success is not going come easy. The same holds true with sports, music and art. Practice truly makes perfect.
11. A 12 year old girl still longs to be a child even though her body is developing and she's facing the pressures of being a teen.
12. A 12 year old needs their parent for important moments in their lives and wants them to disappear when they want to hang out with their closest friends.