How To Survive Your Tween Daughter
I’ve covered teenage girls a lot with this blog and I think I have the teenage girl pretty well nutted out.
A tween daughter is a completely different story.
I have an 11 year old tween daughter who is smack bang in the middle of her tween years and to tell you the truth it is driving us all crazy!
The screaming matches and hormonal mood swings are just a daily occurrence at the moment. I keep repeating my mantra, “she’ll grow out of it…she’ll grow out of it”.
The hard thing is getting her sisters, both older and younger to understand what she is going through and trying to get them to be patient with her.
Fighting between the girls is at disastrous proportions and I find myself apologising to the neighbours at every opportunity.
Miss 11 and Miss 8 aren’t getting along and it has everything to do with Miss 11 now growing up and moving away from activities that she used to like playing with her younger sister. Now she just wants to have peace and quiet in her bedroom and chat online with her friends.
So what are the classic signs that your little girl in pigtails is only one step away from becoming a full blown teenager?
- Monitor what she is doing online. As much as she asks for a Facebook account I believe that under 13 is far too young. If you do allow her to have Snap Chat or Musically, make sure you follow what she is doing and that you have her passwords. Regularly check her device for any inappropriate sites and check her settings to restrict access. Remember that sometimes when a software update is complete these settings may change automatically. You bought the device, so you control the device. If she can’t abide by your rules then take it away.
Yep that one
- You will need to have the “Period” talk with her. I recommend doing it no later than 9-10 years old. Remember that if her mother started her period early then the chances are she will too. If she is already showing signs of body development, then getting her period is not too far away. Don’t put this talk off until it’s too late and she is somewhere public with no idea what to do.
- She will start to develop breasts. This can be confusing and embarrassing for her. During this time she won’t need a “real” bra. She can get by with crop tops and soft cups bralettes. I encourage you to buy them even at ages 9, 10 and definitely 11. There is nothing more embarrassing to a tween than noticing that she’s “pointy” under her shirts. Well maybe somebody else noticing is pretty embarrassing too.
- She will develop acne. Those little annoying spots will start appearing on her face. Now is the time to teach her a good and reliable skin care routine. One that she can carry through to her teenage years and one that is simple. I swear by Body Shop Tea Tree Facial Wash. We all use it. It has been amazing for clearing up Miss 16’s skin and keeping Miss 11’s clear. I love it too and it’s just so easy to use in the shower. You only need a tiny bit so it works out well economically. Follow up with a light moisturiser.
What goes in, must come out
- Encourage her to eat a healthy diet. What kids don’t love chips, lollies and soft drinks. Now is the age to teach her that everything that she puts in her body has a purpose. It’s ok to indulge once in a while but foods high in sugar should not make up a staple part of our diets. Maybe involve her in the cooking of the family meal and encourage an interest in nutrition.
- She will start to grow hair on her vagina and under her arms. It will be sparse but noticeable, especially if she plays sports that involve wearing sleeveless clothes. Ask her if she would like you to show her how to shave under her arms (wax and laser I think is a bit harsh on young skin). You might be surprised at the relieved look she gives you. Feeling self conscious about her growing hair can hamper her everyday activities, from swimming, to sport to deciding what clothing to wear. It doesn’t have to.
- She might to start experimenting with clothing and make up. Allow her to do this in the safety of her own home. If she has older sisters get them to offer her advice (although she probably won’t be prepared to take it). It’s just an extension of playing “dress up” but it can also be a lesson in what is appropriate clothing for a young girl.
Little Miss “Know It All”
- She starts to “know” everything. No matter what you say, the answer is always “I know Mum”. She says this so often it’s only natural that you will think your tween daughter is a fricken genius! Just a word of warning this “know it all” attitude will follow them well into the teenage years.
- Check in with her every single day. As much as she is showing you her new found independence, she is not quite there yet. Arrange to spend 15 minutes with her before bed, even a chat in the car. Have a mother/daughter date and ask her questions to get her talking. This will also set up a precedent for the teenage years when communication is so important.
- Hormones have a lot to answer for. While ours are winding down, hers are just starting to ramp up. They are raging through her body at an amazing rate. Although we know what is probably causing her outbursts, it doesn’t mean we should ignore them either. She has to learn hormones or not, what constitutes acceptable behaviour. Sometimes we can blame the hormones but sometimes our kids are just being little assholes too. Just when you think you are all done with temper tantrums, she will throw one that will put even the best 2 year old to shame.
- Stay aware of their school work. They are at an age now where they are expected to complete their homework independently. Don’t trust the “I don’t have any homework” excuse, the chances are they do. Get her into good homework and study habits now, then hopefully she will carry them through to high school.
The Tween years are tricky.
Everyone always warns you about the teenage years, but really I have found the tween daughter to be far more challenging.
The tween daughter doesn’t quite know where she fits in the world. She is no longer a “little” girl, yet she is not a teenager either.
She wants to be more independent but has no idea how to do that. She doesn’t want to be told what to do yet, on the other hand she still requires lots of guidance.
It’s like walking a tight rope every day.
So hang on and enjoy the ride.