Mid-life and middle schoolers. Suddenly you find yourself in that “Toto-I-don’t-think-we’re-in-Kansas-anymore” moment. Betwixt and be-tween (pun intended).
More moms are having their babies later in life. So about the time your hormones are signaling perimenopause, your youngster’s hormones are waking up too. The “tween” years – 10 to 12. Not a child and not yet a teen.
What happens when mid-life and middle schoolers collide? A seismic shift the like and size of the twister that threw Dorothy and Toto into an alternate reality! Can you relate?
What’s a mom to do?
First, know that you’re not alone. A study published in Developmental Psychology, surveyed 2,247 well-educated mothers with children ranging in age from infants to adults. The study revealed parenting through the tween years is even more stressful than infancy or teen years because:
- It’s the first realization for moms that their babies aren’t babies anymore. And they grieve the loss.
- Even though infancy is 24/7 with 2:00am feedings and puréed carrots in baby’s hair and on the walls – everywhere but in baby’s mouth – moms have the hormonal boost of oxytocin, the euphoric, feel good hormone, to off-set the stress.
- Moms generally felt supported by their peers and “Mommy and Me” groups during their kids’ early childhood years, where they could talk about disposable vs cloth diapers and the terrible twos. There’s zero to very little support for the tween years.
- It’s a totally new ball game in middle school. Tweens feel awkward and mismatched and moms are at a loss to know how to support, shield, and protect them. Gone are the days when a kiss on the boo-boo made all things right again.
- Tweens are getting their first taste of independence and this plays out in behaviors that seem detached and sullen. Those previously welcome hugs and kisses? Yeahno. Now it’s about how to, crowbar in hand, pry them away from their X-Box, online gaming buddies, and virtual worlds.
- Tweens begin to test parental limits with rule-breaking behaviors, often experimenting with alcohol and drugs. Scary!
Don’t panic! Hold on to your hat and ask yourself, “What would Dorothy do?”
Dorothy found support! She had the Tin Man, the Scarecrow and the Cowardly Lion. Together she found courage, heart and the know how to find her way home.
So, to all you moms of tweens out there, stay the course! Keep those ruby slippers planted firmly on the yellow brick road. Gather support from other moms with tweens. Ask for help.
And, oh yeah, I’m a coach! And I help women leap through mid-life and middle schoolers and land over the rainbow. Use this link to reach out for a free Discovery Session. Let’s talk.
Are you a mom with a tween? Did the terrible twos seems like a tip-toe through the tulips compared to what you and your tween are plowing through now? Tell me about it in the comments below. I’m listening.