The Tween Dilemma

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.”
Or,
“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. Sailboat sky and ocean
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.

4 Comments

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4 Responses to The Tween Dilemma

  1. kelly hawkins

    Hey Trina, you forgot to mention that you soon will turn into a complete blithering idiot who does not know one thing about the world. You will wonder how you ever made it this far in your life without Anya telling you how the world works. Then maybe when she is around 18 she may realize that there could be things you do know about (she won’t tell you though). So stay strong, you have done well if life and someday your passionate little girl will return to you (albeit a little taller).

  2. Heather

    Hey, Trina:

    “Coolness” and eye rolls are something you will see for awhile. You are teaching by example: all the things you’re doing don’t go unnoticed, and they will sit in her mind for years. Someday, she will surprise you by being interested in things that now intererst you;( but will never admit it was from your influence). Always let her know though that she is welcome to join in . You’re right by letting her go her own way little by little. Independence is the best gift you can give (and the most difficult).

  3. jim

    It’s a right of passage… for you.
    Be the best example that you can.. they learn by watching and you coaching.
    They will never admit that you are right and only years later when you see yourself in their actions.. will you realize that you have been a greater influence than you ever imagined.

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