Monday, June 02, 2014

The Calm before the Storm

I've come here to write. But before, I look. I haven't written much this school year, I see. And that which I have written has either been fraught with - or at least sprinkled with - the ups and, primarily downs, of tweenaged storminess. And yet why am I called to write again today? You got it. The weather around here.. oh man. Frightful.

But, seeing as it's all I've talked about this year, I just… don't. Can't even. Sweetie is a drama queen and I, in my writings about it, can certainly come off with a tad more drama than any given situation truly warrants. Gee, where does she get it from? I wonder.

But really. Tweenaged girls are rough. They have the capacity to make parents who think they are absolutely crushing it feel absolutely crushed. "Don't tell me what to do!" "Why didn't you remind me what to do?!" "I don't care what people think!" "I care what people think!" "Let me do it myself!" "I can't do it - you always do it for me - do it for me!" And on. And on.

In the middle of it all, I am trying - really trying - to remain her calm in the middle of her storms. Do I like her over-the-top outbursts about nothing at all? Do I condone her attitude towards us and others? Heck, no! But I also "get it." I was a tween once upon a time as well. I know she doesn't know why she's feeling and acting out in these ways. I know that her reactions are way, way out of proportion to whatever the situations at hand are all about. And so I try to breathe. And answer her as calmly, yet firmly, as I can. I try to stand up for her when I see she needs - but doesn't necessarily recognize that she needs - some support. I try not to punish her for her outbursts and behaviors - unless it's truly called for, which I find it rarely is. She's just having a "moment" and I try to acknowledge that and let her deal as she needs. But I do, along with Hubby, demand respect. And I do try to stand firm by my decisions. This, I find, can be the hardest part.

Knowing, once I've made up my mind about something, that I need to hold on to that decision no matter what "but, Mom!" she throws at me - it's hard. Knowing which battles to fight and which to let slide. Knowing how stubborn and adamant she can be and, so, not backing down just so that Sweetie will stop arguing and providing reason after reason why what she wants is no big deal. Trying so hard to end as few arguments on my end as possible with, "Fine! Do what you want! You're just going to do it anyway." Trying not to feel defeated and "crushed." Flattened by the storm. It's hard.

I found this article on staying close with your tween daughter. I think it's fantastic. And I'm trying. I know Hubby is trying. And I even believe that Sweetie, in her own way, understands that we're trying to do our best as we all struggle through these years with her. Sweetie, at her core, remains as her nickname states - a sweetie. She is a caring, smart, creative, sweet girl who still loves hanging out with her parents, for the most part, playing games, watching movies, learning and adventuring. She can be and usually is her usual "great" self. She absolutely is.

But then… oh man...

You know, I feel like a softie. Or something. I mean, we are only just at the very beginnings of pre-adolesence with her. All you other parents of older kids, I'm sure, are just laughing your way through as you read this. "You just wait," you're thinking. "This is nothing," you're trying to tell me through the blogwaves. "If you can't handle this, I feel badly for what lies ahead for Sweetie and you," you think as you shake your head in disbelief, wondering just how we'll make our way to the other side with only a few scrapes and cuts. I know. Believe me, I know. But I'm also viewing this time as a foundation-laying exercise. If we can get through this and make Sweetie believe, even just a little bit, that we are on her side and do understand what she's going through… if she can view us as her parents that, yes, demand respect but are always here with listening ears and open arms… I think our relationship together through her teen years will be that much more successful because of it.

I'm hoping, anyway. And keeping calm through the storms.

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