Survival kit for parents of tweens

Survival kit for parents of tweens

When you enter the realm of parenting a tween, it feels a bit like entering a foreign country. Everything is different: the rules, the expectations, the language, the person who used to be your sweet little one.

When advising someone on what to pack for the journey that is parenting in the space of children who are not so little, not so big and who have a whole lotta hormones, here's what I'd recommend:

* Thick skin,

* Extra sense of humor (and the phone number of a friend who has some to spare when yours runs out),

* Yoga mat (or whatever you do to stay flexible in any sense, be it literal, metaphorical, or otherwise. Flexibility can be key. That said, don't over do it, and be clear on just how far you're willing to stretch.),

* Texting-to-English dictionary (you can get a start on one with this slang guide here),

* Air freshener (Seriously, these kids smell in ways that you don't want to experience, and it happens without warning - your olfactory senses won't know what hit them.),

* Your favorite source of caffeine (It's a bit of a shock to the system when they start staying up later and later and later still. Also, some most kids have at one time or another waited until a parent was ready to say goodnight to decide to really start opening up on a big topic that really matters to them. Their timing may not be convenient, but these are moments that are so important and you don't want to miss them.);

* Extra laundry detergent (Tweens get dirty in ways that I didn't expect, or at least, I had expected them to grow out of. No luck. Also, see above about smell.),

* Stock in their favorite clothing store (Because a growth spurt will invariably hit not long after you've stocked up on new clothes for them.),

* Your kid's lovey (They will want it some day, even if they put it in the trash. Be kind, to it and them, and rescue it),

* Your favorite tunes from way back in the day easily accessible in the car you use to transport the child (Make sure that the child knows both that you can play them and that you're not afraid to turn the volume up - way up.),

* Ear plugs (unless you're a really big fan of Justin Bieber or Five Seconds of Summer, in which case, carry on, friend.), and

* Pictures of when your kids were little and cute to refer to on the days when they are not so terribly cute and remind you that this time won't last forever.

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