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Parenting a Tween Girl: I Have No Idea What I’m Doing

IMG_8312The slam of the door was the next thing I heard.  Then a blood curdling scream.  I’m pretty sure the neighbors on each side of us and across the street heard it too. That scream came from my tween daughter, who just turned 11.  We had just had a battle about how she was treating her little sister.  It didn’t go well.

Quite honestly, it doesn’t seem to most of the time these days.  I had no idea parenting a tween girl would be so hard. I’m a “passionate” girl myself.  So when she gets “passionate” I should get her, right?  Wrong. It makes me angry, and I can feel my blood pressure rising.  I don’t think to myself, “she’s just like me!”  I think I’d like to go in her room and tell her who’s boss….again (read: rip her a new one).

The truth: I am parenting a tween girl and I have no idea what I am doing.

This is how a lot of our conversations go when we disagree:

Me: Since you can’t quit slamming things around when I ask you to be patient I’m taking away your iPad

Her: (snarky) Okay  (more slamming around)

Me: Now it’s gone for a week

Her: (snarky) Okay (more slamming around)

Me: Go to your room

Her: (stomp, slam)

That went well, don’t you think?  I am rocking this mom thing.

Most of the time I feel like I’m failing.  I question myself and the action I’ve decided to take, constantly.  Is she going to be a mean girl?  Did she hear anything I just said to her?  Does she get how important what I’m saying is? Does she know I do what I do because I love her? Do other moms see her at her worst and tell their daughters not to hang out with her?  Do I take her iPad away again, do I just lecture her, do I take her to a third world country to see how other tween girls live?  Am I overthinking all of this?

I know the answers to these questions are subjective.  And I’ve decided to take it day by day.  I know I have to just do what I think is right in the moment.  But most of the time I feel like I’m failing.  And if in looking back it was the wrong thing do to, I’ll do it differently the next time.

Because with a tween girl, there is always a next time.

My deepest hearts desire is to develop character in her, to help her understand the most important thing in this world is not how she looks, who she’s friends with, or how much money her family has.  But the most important thing is loving those around her, and being light in a scary world.  I may not see the fruit of my labor anytime soon.  And I may feel like I am failing all the time.  But I won’t quit, even though sometimes I look up to heaven and say, “You thought I could be her mom?”  I’m going to dig my heels in when she does and go down in a #parentingfail blaze of glory. Because I love that tween girl, door slams and all.

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One Response to Parenting a Tween Girl: I Have No Idea What I’m Doing

  1. Avatar
    Crystal August 4, 2016 at 4:47 pm #

    Thank you for sharing. I’m in the exact boat! I have two tween girls 12 & 11, and a 7 year old boy. The 11 year old dies her very best to push my buttons regularly, and I think to myself, I can’t do this. What am I doing wrong? How can I fix her? I have to have me moments to catch my breath.

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