Life has changed ever since my energetic, little girl morphed, overnight, into a disgruntle tween. The biggest difference I’ve noticed is her lack of enthusiasm for, well, anything.
As a child everything was a wonder to her. Whether it was watching ants march across the driveway or using an empty laundry basket as a space ship and even, playing with a flashlight, the coolest toy ever. Now, almost every suggestion is met with an eye roll. It’s like Invasion of the Body Snatchers, except this time the human’s body is taken over by a slug. Trying to coax her out of her bedroom is an exercise in futility.
“Hey hon, let’s go to the mall,” I offer.
“What for?” she asks, peeking out from behind her tablet.
“I want to buy you some new clothes.”
“I’m good. Save your money.”
“Hey hon, Jim and I are going to see Captain America tonight. How about we all go, it’ll be fun?”
“Nah, you two go. Have yourselves a romantic night together.”
She’s not misbehaving or acting inappropriately. She’s just…lost her fire. So I decided I would try to reignite it for her. I’ve always tried to expose her to new experiences, under the impression it would spark an interest in her. We’ve traveled throughout North America and Europe, we frequent the theatre, she takes singing lessons and I’ve even got her to sit through the occasional documentary. The world is her oyster but all she wants anymore is Minecraft and YouTube.
I read that one of the best ways to influence your child is through example. A few years ago I took up running. Now, she dutifully waves goodbye to me…from the couch, as I go for my run. She has no interest in joining me. She sees how passionate and dedicated I am about writing. One day she said she wanted to write a kid’s book. I was over the moon. Two days later she abandoned her novel, saying it was too much work. My heart sank.
I wracked my brain. How could I ignite her passion? Help her find that one thing that would fulfill her and give her life purpose? Then I came up with the answer…I can’t. That is her road to go down. As I parent I can give her choices, which I’ve done with the myriad of experiences I’ve exposed her to. Now it is up to her to decide which one captures her interest. Maybe it will end up being something I never even thought of.
I will just have to accept, that for now, her passion is being cool, finding her place in the complex sociological world of grade six and passionately trying to avoid being embarrassed and humiliated by her mother. For my part it’s time to start letting go. Each year I will have to un-tether a line, until that one day when I finally set her free, completely. Then she can sail off to chase her own adventures and, hopefully, send home the occasional post card.
Interesting fact: The term tween can be found around the 1940’s to describe children’s clothing sizes but it did not seem to catch on widely until around the 1970’s.