Need help from a Mom who's "been there, done that" !!
Christy - posted on 03/02/2011
I am raising my nephew now about to be (since he was 11) 15 and let me tell you it's HARD!!!!! I can only give you a perspective from a teenage boy point of view. Let her know you are there for her, don't allow phone calls on the cell all the time, check her text messages, talk, talk TALK to her and make sure she has confidence. The less confidence a teen has, the more likely they are to make major mistakes. Put her in activities at school to keep her busy and out of trouble (this also helps with the confidence thing) Talking is the big thing. My nephew is so moody sometimes he won't even acknowledge me! I just let him know if he needs anything I am here and when I feel the time is right, I initiate the conversations with him (when he seems less pissy, LOL).
Don't allow her to get totally absorbed in a boy. Be sure to meet her friends and invite them over as much as you can to be part of what's going on. Stay in touch with her friends' parents, too. If you have an "instinct", go with it. Meaning, she may say she is going to the movies when she MIGHT be doing something else. Or saying she is spending the night with a friend when she might be getting into trouble. I say this based on my experiences with my nephew, not saying you have a bad kid....you just have a pre teen! Good luck!
My nephew comes from a single dad household and mom hasn't been around in 6 years. So he has those issues to contend with as well.
Kaitlyn - posted on 02/28/2011
I don't have a 12 y/o, yet, but I was one once and to be honest, the very best thing my mother did for me was to LISTEN!! I can honestly say that I never truly felt scared to talk to my mom about anything because she was always very open with me, when I asked and always listened to what I had to say. She would offer her opinion if I asked, but sometimes she knew I just needed someone to hear me out and not criticize or tell me what to do. My father on the other hand, being almost 11 y/older than my mother, always had issues with anything I did, since I was a girl. My mom just always had to reassure him that she had things under control since the same sex parent is the bigger influence. I had several friends growing up who were constantly grounded for really trivial things in an effort to maintain "control" by their parents. These friends were always the ones to get into the most trouble, have sex earlier, and a few even ended up pregnant. You want you daughter to be the most confident, self respecting person she can be, and getting after her for things like nail polish, hair color, etc. are just going to tear down the trust she has in you. Which, in turn will only lead to you not trusting her as she slowly does more and more to rebel. In reference to the whole BF thing, it happens. Even if you try to tell her she is not old enough to have one, she most likely will do it behind your back since it is at school anyway and peer pressure is unbelievable these days. In my opinion, it is better to let her carry on as she is, let her keep telling you EVERYTHING (because I promise, even the best of kids will stop sharing things w/ parents eventually) and just do your best to monitor the situation. Obviously, I am not saying let her do whatever she wants, but once you try to tell her no and break her trust in you, it potentially could be all over. Most likely, it truly is so innocent that they will "break up" before you even know it. Boys are so weird at that age and have to show off to the friends. He might decide tomorrow that your DD is old news and he want to move on to Becky sue, or whomever!! AT that point, she will once again need you to Listen and comfort her and maintain the trust you have with each other. Good Luck! I hope this helps a little.
Oh, and in reference to the friends issue. I don't know exactly what you are referring to, but if it is trouble with friends, a good book for her to read is "Odd Girl Out."
Lisa - posted on 02/22/2011
Thank you so much Laura! I am so glad you mentioned the "American Girl" books as we already own quite a few and you are right, they're great... specifically I am wondering about your experience with boyfriends....she has her first boyfriend and she enjoys telling me all about him, and although I am not so keen using the term "boyfriend" he is a good kid and they are good friends and see each other only at school. Is she too young? She amazes me at times can be SO mature and in the same moment will argue with my 6 yr old about Spongebob!! *sigh* It's such a confusing time! My husband is REALLY having a tough go as he can't imagine his "little girl" growing up. We had a Dad blowout over painted nails (she rarely does and it's always a neutral/light color) he seems to think 15 is an acceptable age and that if we allow her to paint her nails....WHAT NEXT??!! I don't know if HE will survive the next few years ;) Is she moving too fast?? So far no first kiss from the boyfriend so I am relieved, but maybe it's too soon to even have one? I don't know if I need more help in the preteen daughter dept. or the Dad freaking out fighting it every step of the way dept.!!! I guess here I felt a MOM opinion would help me put things into perspective about how fast or slow things should progress....thanks for your advice!
Laura - posted on 02/22/2011
We're in the same boat! : ) The best advice I can give you is what I use with my daughter: Communicate! Be open and accessable to her questions and concerns and answer them as best you can. Do NOT be afraid to say "I don't know" followed by "Let me find out for you".
Another good resource that we use are the various "Americal Girl" books on body image, friends, etc. We have a whole library that my daughter uses. The nice thing about the books is that she can look up answers to her questions on her own if she wants. These books are well-written, factual and positive. My daughter really likes them! You can try checking these books out at your local library first, though I think owning them as references works best, IMO.
Finally, be prepared to make an attitude adjustment on your part--you're daughter is becoming a young woman and is no longer a little girl! A lot of conflict can be avoided outright if your daughter is allowed to become more independent. This can include changes to bedtimes, more responsibility at home, more "freedoms" such as traveling on her own to a specific place, etc. Sit down and talk to your daughter about what these changes might mean AND your expectations for her behavior! These changes are still priveleges that can be revoked if her behavior doesn't meet your expectations! These are things that I am doing with my daughter and so far they are working well. We have a pretty good relationship and she seems to be doing well socially, meeting my expectations for her behavior.
As for homones, you can always talk to your doctor/pediatrician if you or she has concerns. Otherwise a piece of dark chocolate and some pain reliever always worked for me! : ) Hope this helps and good luck!
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