I woke up one morning and looked at my baby girl to find she was no longer the child who fell asleep with innocence in her eyes but had become a different creature overnight.
She was still curious about the world but with a different twist. Her naive attitude had been replaced with a thirst for acceptance amongst her peers.
She was still only eight years old but in a single breath she wasn’t a little girl any more.
It was then I recognised she had stepped over the cliff to becoming a tween.
What is a tween?
Typically a tween is aged between eight and twelve. They’re no longer a young child playing with barbies and bears but not yet in the teen stage.
Seemingly overnight a tween loses that fresh scent that you breathe in from the top of their head as you kiss them goodnight and develops the musty body odour that will haunt their room until they discover perfume and aftershave.
Puberty will start to set in and a pre-wash spray becomes your best friend*. The phrase “have you put deodorant on yet” also creeps into your daily routine.
Where your young child once slept, a gangly version now appears, with arms and legs growing almost too fast for the rest of their body to keep up. Their wardrobe selection also narrows as they develop their own distinct sense of style, shying away from clothes that parents select to clothes that Macbarbie07** recommends.
One big thing that I have noticed with my tween daughter is that she has gone from talking to me about anything and everything to being more secretive. It’s not a bad thing, but she now has a part of her world that I’m not included in – it’s hers and she doesn’t feel the need to share every minute detail. I prise certain information out of her at times, but I also encourage her to keep some of it just for her. I’m letting go little by little.
I have to say, that’s the biggest thing that I’ve noticed with recognising your child is now a tween. Letting go.
As parents, we wrap our children in the loving embrace of the family from the moment they are born and the idea of letting them step away and learn to make their own mistakes can almost take your breath away.
But you have to do it. We all have to do it.
The tween years are when your child will exercise their need for more freedom. They may want to walk to school or the shops alone. They may want to take secret phone calls with their friends and giggle about things you are not privy to.
That’s all fine.
Let go slowly and with caution.
This particular part of the tween phase has been the toughest on me as a parent. Watching my little bird spread her wings and fly on her own is so, SO important but also really difficult. All I want to do is to be there to catch her if she falls, but how on earth would she learn resilience if I did that?
I’ve had to let go slowly and with caution.
Little by little she has gained more freedom as she’s proven that she’s responsible and ready. The truth is that she’s an amazing person and I’m very proud of the little lady she’s becoming and with each smidge of responsibility I give her, she proves that she’s ready for more and together we’re navigating this minefield.
Slowly, and with caution…
Have you noticed any big changes in your own tween?
*If you haven’t already, get yourself a bottle of the pre-wash stain remover (homebrand is good). You’ll soon have to spray the underarms of your tween’s clothing before every wash. Without spray, the scent won’t budge from their clothing (even in a hot wash). I’m sharing this because I learnt through trial and error myself!
**If you’re not yet familiar with @macbarbie07 and @zoella. They’re youtubers that your tween will be all over so it’s good to know who they are.