Sober Moms: Parenting a Tween
There are many parents out there who have already gone through the tween years, and survived, and that’s a really good news! But for us that are just getting to the beginning, this stage is quickly becoming quite daunting. My daughter has definitely entered the tween stage; the eye rolling, the mean outbursts and crying spells have now become almost an every day event! I am hoping that by writing this post I can find some support and guidance in this new parenting challenge.
Maybe we can even laugh a bit together, because some of the stuff is a bit funny too, like the b.r.a. shopping – she likes to spell it out because her little brothers cannot spell yet. Or trying to find the right pimple cream, except it is not called pimple cream anymore, it is now blemish reducer (?)! Who knew!
My daughter is funny and happy, and over the top bubbly, but at times and often seemingly out of the blue, she becomes a totally different person. This is a completely new territory for me, and it has been a huge challenge already. This weekend, my daughter and I had a rather unpleasant screaming match, and I do not like it and most of all, I did not like my reaction to it all. Therefore, I am looking for advice, and tips on how to manage my feelings, as well as suggestions on ways to reprimand her for the unacceptable behavior.
By the way, what is unacceptable? How do I know which behavior is unacceptable and which I should just ignore?
Of course, first, and foremost I want to remain sober, and I want to continue to protect my sobriety at all costs, because without it I would not even be writing this post or struggling with my tween’s behavior; I would still be alone, hopeless and stuck in utter despair. Consequently staying sober is the most important part of this all because I still have that knee jerk feeling of wanting to get trashed when I am in a stressful situation.
Second, I want to give a shout out to all the parents, not just sober moms, but sober dads and normie parents. I often think that parenting is harder because I am a sober alcoholic, but in fact, this is simply not true! Parenting is hard no matter who we are, and what other life challenges we have had, period.
So… my beautiful, sweet little girl has become angry, disrespectful and a very moody tween almost overnight. Although I had a few glimpses of this behavior last year, which I wrote about in the post – Sober Moms: I Have a Tween! – but lately her unpredictable behavior has been an enormous challenge to everyone in our household! I know that she is going through many changes; her body is definitely changing, and the hormone levels are up and other things are taking shape. However, when the disrespectful behavior hits, I just see red and I have to go and hide in the bathroom. Or I get totally sucked in, and I try to rationalize with her, and inadvertently I make it even worse! And when I run out of he only options I know, I just want to take all her electronics always and ground her for life! Of course all the anger and frustration are big triggers for me. Therefore, I want to learn how to manage my feelings before I ever think that a drink is the best solution.
I have been reading lots again, looking for something that would help me manage. Some of the articles contain a good description of what my daughter’s behavior is like, some have a few good suggestions on how to deal with this behavior. However, I find the articles a bit shallow and not containing any actual answers or suggestions on things I can do. Nevertheless…
Here are a few things that truly resonated with me, in these two great articles:
“The first time I heard her say something under her breath, I was surprised,” says Gamin Summers of her “extra-sweet” 9-year-old daughter. “She’ll mutter, ‘You clean your room’ at me. I know it’s normal, but when you put everything into raising them right and they come back at you with disrespect, it stings and it makes you second-guess your parenting skills,” adds the mom of five, including two tweens, from Flagstaff, AZ.
Then “make sure your kid knows where the nuclear switch is,” says Jhoanna Wade, a mom of three, including a now 13-year-old, in New York City. “I’ll ignore eye-rolling or heavy sighs, but my daughter knows that it’s crossing the line to raise her voice or walk off in the middle of a conversation.”
When a “discussion” between you and your tween leads to screaming or hysterics (on the part of your kid, of course!), step back and wait for things to calm down. Encouraging your child to take a break from a situation is a good way to defuse high emotions all around.
1. Her personality has arrived.
My tween has a more defined silliness and sarcasm, a sense of style, and stronger opinions about her clothes and her activities and the ways she wants to spend her time.
8. She craves your approval.
It might not seem like it, but she does. Give it to her freely.
11. She’s watching you for clues on how to maneuver this world as a woman.
Strong, smart and empathetic women are golden. The way these things play out for you doesn’t really matter; it’ll look different for all of us. But follow your passions, speak your mind, and see your own value. She’ll mirror you.
I know that I should work on adjusting my parenting style; after all she is not a little kid anymore! I also want to learn how to manage my stress levels, because I surely never want to get to the point when drinking seems like a good idea.
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