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Raising Tweens and Teens: Not for the Faint of Heart

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My days of breastfeeding and diaper changing are over, but the exhaustion continues with tweens and teens.

I have migrated beyond baby and toddler tantrums to tween and teen drama. It is one of the hardest ages to handle on the mommy spectrum and often a thankless job. It is kind of a crap shoot. You never know what you will get from day to day. One might be having a hair emergency, while the other is failing math.

Everything from keeping their rooms and bathrooms clean, to dating, to getting their driver’s license freaks me out. Even my 12-year old son has girls texting him already! I am fortunate that said child still wants to give me an occasional hug. My heart is a little sad knowing that soon he will blow me off like his older sisters. Maybe he will be a momma’s boy, but truthfully – I do not want a jobless 30-year old living in my basement!

Most days, I have three mini-me clones on a payback mission. Do you have a firstborn bossy child? I do. She is the reliable one that takes control of any situation. My middle child is constantly suffocated by the two strong personalities of her older and younger siblings. She is the drama queen. The youngest one is the smarty pants that gets away with much more than his two older sisters….at least that is what they insist. He is the showman.

My husband and I are soldiering on within the uncharted territory of parenting teens and tweens. So many things to freak us out: driving permits, licenses and car purchases; bullying issues; weight issues; educational progress; religious training; sports schedules and drama; last minute science projects; birthday parties; college choices; and prom and other hormone-filled dances.

There also seems to be an endless stream of money that is tied to each of these bundles of joy. Costs include everything from clothing, makeup and hygiene products to car insurance, college savings and spending money. I will give them kudos for contributing to their purchases through babysitting, chores, etc. My oldest even bought most of her first vehicle herself by babysitting all summer long, which happened to pay quite well.

I know I have raised wonderful children, but I often find myself worrying about their future in this crazy, uncertain, unforgiving and often violent world. Have I taught them to be self-sufficient individuals with strong moral convictions who are willing to step up and make a contribution in this life? Did I do my best? I would like to think so.

To quote my middle child:  “I want steel friends, not pillow friends. People who will challenge me, will stay by my side and have strong convictions….not those who are soft and fake with nothing much to offer.”

Maybe I am getting it right after all.

Colorado Springs-based author, Darcia Kunkel’s new book 40-Something and Fried is available on Amazon and Kindle. Find more information at on Facebook and follow on Twitter @40andfried.

 
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Comments
  • comment avatar Amber Johnson April 27, 2017

    I thought the sleep-deprived baby years and obstinate toddler years were tough. Then I had a tween.

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