Kseniia/Fotolia

10 Signs Your Kid Is Officially A Tween

By
Share
Ad failed to load

As a parent to a child about to turn double digits, I'm confused. For example, I still send her to bed the same time as her little brother (because she is a nightmare if she doesn’t get her 10 hours of sleep), but her favorite thing to do is borrow my phone to chime in to a group text message with nothing but cat emojis. She crosses streets by herself, but still sleeps with her baby blankets. In other words, the signs your kid is officially a tween are there, but sometimes they’re hidden by your kid's (read: my kid's) desire to curl up with a bunch of their old board books like a 3-year-old toddler.

My partner and I try to talk to our daughter like how she wants to be treated: as a more mature person who can be trusted. But then she’ll get in a dumb pushing match with her brother and exhibit especially juvenile behavior. I get pleasantly surprised when I catch her using sophisticated vocabulary, and then I have to remind myself, “Oh yeah. She is reading more advanced literature now.” It’s hard because our daughter is on the small side, so she kind of looks like a third grader. But trust me, she’s definitely a tween.

How do I know? Well, as confusing as this particular stage of her life and my parenting may be, there are some obvious signs I just can't ignore. Here are just a few of them:

Ad failed to load

They Answer You In Eye Rolls

Giphy

It was a sad day when my tween became self-aware. She suddenly realized how hard she had been working, living this 9-year-old middle class life. So she stopped going to the trouble of formulating sentences, or words, or even grunts. Her sole method of responding to me was with eye rolls and dramatic sighs.

Everything Is The Worst…

She used to spill her goldfish crackers and eat them off the floor, NBD. But now it’s cause for outrage. Her brother looking in her direction at the breakfast table is a major transgression. There is no gray area.

… Or The Best

Giphy

A new episode of her favorite Disney sitcom doesn’t make her happy, people Oh no, it drives her to ecstasy of gigantic proportions. There is squealing, leaping, clapping, too-hard hugging. I love seeing my kid in a good mood, but this version borders on too good.

Ad failed to load

You Suddenly Need An Invitation To Enter Their Space

I respect boundaries, but I’m a parent and this is my house. So I will give my daughter the courtesy of a knock on her closed door, but I will not tolerate it being locked. I remember being around middle school age, as my daughter is creeping towards, and wanting so badly to have my own space. I shared a room with my brother and hated it.

Two years ago, we moved to a bigger apartment, specifically so that our kids could have their own rooms. I sympathize with my daughter’s need to be left alone, but I could do without her exclusive admittance process. It sometimes feels like she’s running a speakeasy in our apartment (and I would like a cut of that action, as the landlord).

Their Bestie Is Now Their Mortal Enemy…

Giphy

My kids luckily didn’t have much issue making friends, and I think a lot of it had to do with being raised in a crowded city, surrounded by children, and attending group daycare. Everyone seemed to be getting along great, until halfway through third grade. All of a sudden, a couple of my daughter’s friends apparently “turned” on her.

I have no way of knowing the intricacies of these relationships, but I could only rely on what my child told me and I did feel for her. She was so sad, missing her friends and wondering what she did wrong. The only thing I could think of, that I knew was true, was that friendships sometimes go through ups and downs. There are cycles. Sometimes you love someone, sometimes they annoy you.

“Be patient,” I told her. “This may change.”

… And Then Their BFF Again

Sure enough, whatever this friend group was going through worked its way out of its system. The bestie was back, and my daughter fell right back into step with her like nothing had transpired. I expect this will happen many times before she is out of her teens.

Ad failed to load

They Won’t Stop Pleading For A Phone...

Giphy

My husband and I decided that in seventh grade, my daughter can get a smartphone (which we will be monitoring). That is the year she will have to get to school herself, so it was more a matter of safety than social status. But she thinks she can wear us down by asking for it… daily. She does so very sweetly, offering to do all these extra chores to “earn” it. But it is less a matter of money (though that is part of it) than about the responsibility of managing her digital life. She is turning 10 this year, and she still can’t remember to consistently hang up her wet towel, so what makes me think she has what it takes to not lose her phone or, worse, respond to strangers on the internet while she’s looking up antonyms to her vocabulary words?

… So You Find A Million Selfies On Your Phone

It’s always a surprise, opening up my photos folder and finding a ton of self-portraits of my kid. She is posing so hard, and it’s hilarious to me. But it’s also a little creepy, to scroll through the dozens of selfies she has taken. Why is she obsessed with herself? Who did she learn it from? Should I be worried?

They Are Particular About Their Footwear

Giphy

I used to buy whatever was on sale that had velcro closures and offered decent ankle support and that was good enough for my kids. But my daughter’s shoe preferences have gotten very specific. They have to be white, but fabric. They have to have laces. They can’t light up or have an ounce of sparkle on them. And she prefers a bit of a heel. I draw the line there.

Ad failed to load

Everything You Do Embarrasses Them

My kids used to laugh at my puns and goofy voices when I read them stories. Now, they find me mortifying. I vividly remember feeling embarrassed by my own mother when she was just doing regular mom things, like greeting me after school or smoothing my hair. I understand how my almost 10-year-old daughter feels, and since every damn thing I do is going to feel humiliating to her, I really lean into the silliness. I’m the mom, after all, and I need to have fun during this horrible tween phase, too.

Watch Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries

Check out the entire Romper's Doula Diaries series and other videos on Facebook and the Bustle app across Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

Being A Dog Parent Prepared Me For Having A Baby, Really

I’ve always wanted kids; I was never as sure about raising a puppy. Then I spent six months living with someone who brought home an eight-week-old golden retriever puppy, and I see no way to make it out of that experience claiming not to love dogs. I…
By Heather Caplan

20 Of The Most Popular Unisex Names Of All Time, That You'll Be Hearing More Of For Sure

You might think of unisex names as a fairly recent trend, but the truth is these versatile monikers have been commonly used throughout history (well, some more commonly than others). That's why the team over at Names.org recently compiled a list of t…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

How To Have A Date Night With No Babysitter, Because It's Easier Than You Think

After having children, many couples feel that their love lives immediately go out the window, but it's so important to make your romantic life a priority so both you and your partner can be the best versions of yourselves you can be. As we all know, …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

9 Ways Baby No. 3 Made My Family Feel Complete

My husband and I decided to have another baby right after we got married and, well, we had no idea what we were getting into. I got pregnant right away, endured a high-risk pregnancy, and, before I knew it, my third baby had arrived. Together, we emb…
By Steph Montgomery

8 Stereotypes About New Dads That Are *Totally* True

Much like new mothers, new fathers have a lot on their plate. Parenting can be scary and complex, especially at first and regardless of your gender. People want to do right by their kids, after all. And since all new parents are a hot mess, dads are …
By Priscilla Blossom

8 Differences Between Being Pregnant In Your 20s Vs 30s, According To Science

Whether you're planning a pregnancy, or just thinking about your future family, it's typical to think about things like child-spacing, how many kids you want, and when to start trying to conceive. When making your pro/con list, you might also conside…
By Steph Montgomery

16 Moms Share Remedies For Their Most Intense Chocolate Cravings During Pregnancy

For better or worse, pregnancy is usually synonymous with odd cravings. Sure, there are the stereotypical combos like pickles and ice cream that plague gestating women the world over, but there are other mind-boggling combinations, too, including but…
By Candace Ganger

Putting Sunscreen On Your Kid Doesn't Have To Be A Fight — Here's How To Do It

I am almost translucent, so me and sunscreen are basically besties at this point. Even though my children are beautifully deep brown thanks to my husband's genetics, I still slather them like biscuits being buttered because I refuse to take risks wit…
By Cat Bowen

7 Things A Mom Really Means When She Says She Doesn't Want Anything On Mother's Day

Every year my family asks me what I want for Mother's Day, and every single year I tell them the same thing: Nothing. So, by now, they know that when I say "nothing" I absolutely do not mean "nothing." In fact, there are more than a few things a mom …
By Candace Ganger

19 Moms Share The Way They Cured Their Pregnancy Comfort Food Cravings

I was obnoxiously sick during the first trimester with, "lucky" for me, both of my pregnancies. For the first three months I lived on saltines, lemonade, and fresh bread. Once I was able to eat, however, all I wanted was savory and sweet comfort food…
By Dina Leygerman

8 Fascinating Facts About Babies Born In May, The Luckiest Month Of All

The height of all things fresh and springy, May is an excellent month to have a baby. It's a time of growth, graduations, and outdoor celebrations. And these fascinating facts about May babies will give you more reasons than ever to appreciate childr…
By Lindsay E. Mack

I Used To Judge Formula-Feeding Moms — Until I Became One

The other patrons in the hip Brooklyn restaurant probably couldn’t care less what I was feeding my baby, but I’ll always remember the shame I felt as I quickly mixed up his bottle of formula in front of them. I admitted to my childless friend that I …
By Katherine Martinelli

7 White Lies It’s Necessary To Tell To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Telling lots of lies typically isn't associated with a healthy, strong, lasting relationship, and that's still certainly true, but not all lies are exactly the same. Though you've probably heard from someone at least once or twice that the lie they t…
By Lauren Schumacker

The Skinny Jeans That Saved Me Postpartum

Accepting my post-pregnancy body is hands-down one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It’s something that I still work on every single day. During my first pregnancy, I was 20 years old, so I managed to bounce back quickly. In fact, I dropp…
By Allison Cooper

7 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say They Feel Safe

In those first weeks of new motherhood, it can feel like you need an interpreter for your newborn. With their limited means of communication, figuring out what message your baby is trying to get across to you can be a challenge. With time, however, y…
By Kimmie Fink

Here's Why Dogs Are Obsessed With Babies' Poop, According To Science

Most family dogs seem to understand babies, and they're more than happy to make friends with the newest member of the pack. It's adorable... for the most part and until you go to change your little one's diaper. Suddenly, you're wondering why dogs ar…
By Lindsay E. Mack

6 Signs You're Meant To Have A Big Age Gap Between Kids

There's a five year age difference between my two children, to the day. Their age gap wasn't planned but, for a variety of reasons, works well for our family. And since I was so focused on having a second baby, I totally overlooked the signs that wou…
By Candace Ganger

13 Unique (& Totally Not Mainstream) Mother's Day Gifts For The Hipster Mom

Hipsters thrive on being outside the norm and not really digging anything considered "mainstream." Whether it's in their fashion, what music they listen to, the books they read, or how they enjoy beverages, there's just something that makes them dist…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Here's How To Introduce Your Pet To Your Baby & Make Everything As Calm As Possible

Our home, which we lovingly refer to as “the funny farm,” is filled with four-legged family members. We have two crazy beagles and two cat jerks, and boy are they loved and spoiled. (As they should be.) But we are now finally having a baby of our own…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Here's The Right Birth Method For You, According To Your Zodiac Sign

If you're pregnant, you've probably given childbirth some serious thought. Some moms-to-be prepare a meticulous birth plan, while others are comfortable just going with the flow. And me? Well, I made a plan... but that plan was useless when faced wit…
By Steph Montgomery

My Dog Knew I Was Pregnant Before My Family Did

Growing up, I was 100 percent sure I'd be a mom one day. To a dog, that is. My baby plans came later. And once my husband and I were sure we wanted both a dog and a baby, we'd add to our joint dog-and-baby name list over Sunday brunch or on date nigh…
By Melissa Mills
)}