Last month, I wrote about ways parenting a tween is similar to parenting a toddler. I only scratched the surface of the commonalities these two groups share. Readers chimed in with their own suggestions of ways 2 year-olds and 12 year-olds are more alike than they are different.
Here's the first post:
"Ways parenting a tween is similar to parenting a toddler"
And here are the latest additions to that list:
1. Crying. A lot. This one was actually first suggested by a mom of two boys, proving that hormones have an established relationship with tear ducts regardless of gender. I remember thinking that I looked forward to being done with the tears as my toddler grew into a preschooler. Now, I think I just need to buy stock in Kleenex.
2. Gimmes. A few parents noted that both toddlers and tweens have a more than healthy dose of entitlement, or what my family calls "Me with a circle around it" syndrome. They think everything revolves around them, both people and material goods. Okay, tweens aren't that bad, but still, the need for material items seems to kick back in when they cross the junior high threshold.
The good news is that they can comprehend the difference between a want and a need. They may disagree on your definitions, and they may never admit that you're right that they do not need the latest iWhatever, but there's a modicum of reasoning possible with a 12 year-old that you just don't have with a 2 year-old.
3. Tantrums/Tweentrums. All toddlers melt down at some point. I'm willing to bet that you can also name a toddler who has taken throwing a tantrum to an art form.
I first saw the word "tweentrum" to describe a meltdown by a middle schooler on a tween-run website and thought that whoever invented the term was perhaps overly dramatic. Then I picked up my tween from school last week and had a front row seat for her very first tweentrum. Holy moly. I haven't seen a meltdown like that since she was, well, 2. Just like when she a toddler, a rush of intense emotion overtook her and she simply could not process it in any rational manner. So she processed it in a most irrational manner. I have to admit, it was really startling, just like the first time my sweet little girl threw a tantrum that made the phrase "devil spawn" to pop to mind.
A few days later, I referred back to it and asked, "Would it have helped if..." and she interrupted me to say, "I really don't think anything would've helped at that one moment. It just had to pass." I'm going to remember that the next time I want to try to help a toddler who has gone over the edge.
4. Excited by books. Lest you think I'm a complete Negative Nelly, I can catch glimpses of some of my favorite parts of the toddler years in my tween today. A fabulous similarity between the age groups: my daughter has been excited by books as both a toddler and a tween. My girl used to love her books when she was little. Reading became a bit of chore with school, and I've really missed that spark I used to see in her when we sat down with a good book or headed to story time. Recently, though, she's become more excited about reading. Once again, after a years off, she can be really captivated by a book. A few books she's read recently have really sucked her in and elicited pretty visceral reactions, just like she used to bounce when she was excited about getting to the good part of a toddler book.
Please check out "Ways parenting a tween is similar to parenting a toddler" and keep those similarities (and differences) coming in the comment section, on Facebook or on Twitter.
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