Your child starts middle school, and Boom! Everything changes. All of a sudden his hair and clothes matter to him, but not so much your opinion. One day your little guy looks at you as though you are a goddess, and the next day he tells you your clothes make you look like an old lady. Yep, you’ll get no warning, none. And then one day your mother-son talk sounds like this: (This is our conversation before I dropped off my 11-year-old at his first school dance).
Shocked, Embarrassed Son: “Mom, you are not going to wear that outside, are you?”
Puzzled, Confused Mom: “What’s wrong with my outfit?”
Shocked, Embarrassed Son: “You just look weird. Don’t get out of the car when you drop me off.”
If you are shopping with your 11-year-old, your conversation might go like this: (This is us at Kohl’s).
Caring, Helpful Mom: “Look at this great outfit, son. It’s perfect for you.”
Horrified, Disgusted Child: “Mom, (eyes rolling) do you want me to look weird?”
Caring, Helpful Mom: “What’s wrong with it?”
Horrified, Disgusted Child: “It looks so weird. Don’t you see that? I don’t like it. Don’t you know anything about clothes?”
Here are a few things I have learned when it comes to preteens.
If You’re a Mom, Be Seen and Not Heard
When children hit the double digits a change happens to them, and the first place it affects is their mouths. Kids at this age become ALL attitude. Everything they say is followed with “whatever,” and they have a whole list of comments to show that they are now far too cool to have a mother telling them what to do.
When you are out in public with your preteen, don’t even think about showing any signs of affection. And don’t laugh or talk too loud; it’s all very embarrassing (according to my preteen). Unless there’s absolutely NO possibility of being seen by anyone your child’s age, do not try to hug him, do not pat him on the shoulder—in fact, it’s probably best not to acknowledge that you actually know him.
Don’t Put Baby in the Corner … Buy Him New Shoes Instead
Don’t think that this new behavior is all bad. Part of it is our own problem. You see, it’s difficult adjusting to the fact that you have a child one week and a preteen the next. Believe me, it really happens that fast.
Remember when your kids went through a growth spurt and suddenly the shoes that fit last week became too small? You wouldn’t force them to wear the old shoes; their feet would hurt and probably even get damaged. It’s much better to let them wear new shoes that fit their size. The preteen years are another kind of growth spurt. It’s ok to let your child try on behaviors that fit his new, more mature self.
It All Leads up to Teen Time
The preteen period is a VERY interesting time in your child’s life. Trust me; this is my third time around – but this time with a boy. This period can be very funny (but don’t ever let your child know that you’re laughing—preteens are known to never laugh at themselves). Picture this: There’s your preteen acting totally cool and mature in front of his peers, and then in the privacy of his room, he brings out his toys and plays with them just like he used to in elementary school.
The preteen time is a time when your child may start talking about girls but have no interest in them at all. His hormones haven’t kicked in yet, so all this new talk of girls is simply to impress his buddies. In fact, he could be feeling a bit nervous because he doesn’t really get what all the fuss is about.Being around a preteen can be difficult, challenging, and sometimes more exhausting than dealing with a toddler. Yes, at times you’ll cry, fume and yell, but you’ll also enjoy this transformation as well as a more mature version of the person you love more than life itself.