by Shadra Bruce

Tween attitude is frustrating to say the least. It’s the mouthy responses that get to me the most. When I’m feeling sane and calm, I can see that my kids are simply trying to be clever, exert their personalities, and express their opinions. When I’m stressed, tired, up against a deadline, or just need them to LISTEN FOR A MINUTE, tween attitude makes me look forward to lemon drop martinis and wine in the glass that holds half a bottle.

Unfortunately some are more disrespectful than others. Disrespectful teenagers need to be taught not only what you as parents expect of them, but what society expects as well. If you are at your wits end with your child, do not give up just yet. There are many parents going through the same predicament and there are simple remedies for your teen’s unsatisfactory behavior.

I’m 40 now but it hasn’t been so long since I was a tween – a term they hadn’t yet coined – that I can’t remember how much it sucked. I remember the awkward discomfort of not being sure of who I was, where I was going, or how to get along with the people around me. I was socially inept, and to this day I would never go back and repeat the experience of middle school or high school.

I try to remember how much I struggled through that period of my life. It helps me be slightly more sympathetic with my kids when they’re displaying their tween attitude like little peacocks. They may make me want to tear my hair out sometimes, but all I have to do is think about being back in junior high and I’m ready to forgive.

Have you noticed, though, that tweens have more attitude these days? It’s like they wake up at age 8, realize they’re only a decade away from freedom, and start racing toward it full speed. Tweens know more at an earlier age; they want more independence at a younger age, and have access to more information than we ever did growing up. As the parent of a tween, it’s like riding a bucking bronco – you have to grab the reins, keep as much control as you can, and go along for the wildest ride of your life.

With any luck (and I’ll be able to let you know soon, as the first of ours will be there next year) by the time your kids are 25 or so, you’ll be able to hop off the wild ride and catch your breath for a minute (if you’re not starting over by helping to raise the grandkids, but that’s another story)!