You want to know about WHAT?? Welcome to the “Tween” Years

Time keeps speeding by despite my many efforts to stop it. Wrinkles appear (despite my new skin care regime), I find myself saying things like, “when I was a kid” (though I once swore I would never resort to such tactics) and, despite being a high school teacher, I cannot keep up with all the changes in slang (And so, too often I resemble my grandmother with her slightly confused, vacant look when we’re all sitting around talking about pop culture and we might as well be speaking in ancient Hebrew). Too often this year I found myself pretending that I knew what the kids were talking about when I had absolutely no idea. They started picking up on it. “Mrs. Graham, do you even know what that means?” Sadly I had to admit that no, I had no idea. I was clueless–out of touch–old.


To add salt to a raw wound, a clerk at the grocery store the other day asked me if all of my kids are grown up. Really! I’m still in my thirties for the love of God! I’ve hit that stage where young kids just lump us all together in the category labeled “old.” I suppose I should be thankful. At least they haven’t placed me in the category “old as dirt”–at least–not yet. :S

Yes, yes, so the world keeps spinning and time keeps moving, nothing new there–besides the fact that it seems to be moving me further, and more quickly, away from my youth. Nothing, that is, except for the reality that it has spun me to a place and a phase that I’m not quite ready for and do not willingly go to–the “Tweens.”

Yep, seemingly overnight, I was thrust from childhood into the land of the Tweens. My sweet boy only recently turned ten and it was as if he fell right into an abyss of change and adolescent issues. I suppose I should be grateful since, according to, a tween is a child between 8 and 13 who is not yet a teen but no longer just a little kid and thus starts acting more like a teenager, and encountering larger issues, issues traditionally seen as “teenager” specific issues. I guess by that definition, I’ve had a couple of freebie years with my son (only to realize my oldest daughter is entering these uncharted waters as well). Somehow that doesn’t help that lurch I felt when a friend exposed my son to porn for the first time (seriously I am not ready for THOSE talks), or when he started asking questions about drugs, or when, all of a sudden, those mom kisses that he swore he would never grow to old to give seemed to go the way of the dinosaur. . . no, somehow the couple of extra years just don’t seem to help at all!

sullen tween

I can’t possibly be the mother of a pre-adolescent! Just when I finally feel as if I have this whole parent thing figured out–at least for the most part–I’m thrust into a new dark world and am back to being the bumbling, clueless “parent-in-training.” Poor Gavin! He always ends up as our dry run. I hope we don’t screw him up too badly!

Like any self respecting parent, I looked to my friend google for help. If google can’t help me navigate these potential disasters, no one can! Of course, the very first search left me more intimidated than knowledgeable: “Smoking, drinking, huffing, sexting: it’s a scary world ahead. Start now to build the bonds that will keep your kid on track.” Yikes! What the heck is huffing! I don’t even know what that IS! That’s it! My kid is grounded until he’s 18 and is never getting a phone, and, dang it! I suppose we need to get rid of all of our alcohol. That’s it! We’re teetotalers. Anything to keep the kid on the straight and narrow (well, maybe after I drink the peach bellinis I just made, and, well, I can’t lounge by the pool without my hard lemonade . . . drat! Doomed before I’ve even begun!).


So with great reluctance, and much trepidation, this new journey of parenthood has begun. My time with my son is already half gone, and from what I’m told, the most difficult days are ahead. I always said I liked a good adventure . . . here goes nothing!! Hopefully we’ll all get to the other side intact.

I can raise an independent, completely self-sufficient, functional adult–I think. I think I can, I think I can. (Hopefully there’s something to this thing they call the power of positive thinking . . . it will at least give me a leg up, right? 😉 )



5 thoughts on “You want to know about WHAT?? Welcome to the “Tween” Years

  1. Gosh, don’t believe all the negative stuff you read about tweens and teens. They’re still you’re own little ones, and I think so many times it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy – we’ve heard that teens are awful, so we expect them to be awful, so we treat them like they’re awful, and then they become awful. We had some tricky times, and sometimes I got mad or frustrated in those teen years, but they were so fun to be with! I wouldn’t trade those years for anything. 🙂 -Amy at

    • Always good to hear a success story from a mom who has made it to the other side! 🙂 I know it will be okay, but it is a bit daunting. I figure so long as I can keep the channels open, things should be okay!

  2. Right there with ya! The emotional drama from my normally reserved 10yr old has been an interesting change. We’ve had multiple sex/drugs/growing up changes talks in the last few months- she is curious and scientific, so I think it helps her feel prepared.

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