Cornerstone Music Cafe, Calgary AB

Entering the Tween Years or How Can I Stop Time?

My daughter has become a tornado of ideas and emotions, seemingly overnight. Her favourite sentence is, “I know that already!”. We have officially entered the “tween” years. And here I thought I had more time.

I believe she is raging with hormones already and it won’t be long until we have a full-fledged tween/teen monster on our hands. She is combative, competitive and bossy. She uses sass like no other. If there were an Olympic medal for back talk, she would earn it. There has been yelling and tears- on both sides. She always has to be the first and the best. She thought of that first, then she did it the best. I don’t know how to parent her anymore- Feeling more like an army sergeant than a mother every time we talk. I order her to do a task, then to her room when she decides some other task serves her better (like pulling a book out of her brother’s hands and then claiming she was about to read to him. He can read).

Telling him how to “properly” pose for a photo.

When we do have a conversation, she challenges me on every detail. She is smart and capable, she won’t ask for my help, but will have a breakdown when what she is trying to do doesn’t work. One day she said to me, “Sometimes you really annoy me just by being in the room”. Ouch. My mom, ever wise, had this to say about the phase:

“All part of the growing up process, showing her independence and asserting herself. She doesn’t need you, you know, you can’t tell her anything, she knows it all….she’s bossy because of that growing up process, it’s a tug-of-war- she’s fighting with herself, too. It’s a horrid stage in life and it can become a big struggle. Pick your battles with her, some things are not worth the fight…it’s hard. She’s in that tween phase.”

My mom is so right about that! It’s hard and I know it’s more of a Jekyll and Hyde-ness than who my Isabella really is. She IS fighting with herself. Awhile ago, she made a special evening extremely tumultuous with her sudden dark mood, screaming at all of us, yelling that she knew better than all of us and we don’t let her speak….then a few hours later was back apologizing, asking if there was anything extra she could do to make our lives easier.

The Joy Monster

This morning, she came to wake me up and we laid in my bed for a moment, her head on my shoulder, my hand stroking her hair. It was such a calm, safe space, I decided to ask a question. I asked her why she felt that she needed to be first and the best all the time. I told her that we love her no matter what. Even if she was copying an idea or came in last, she is still a completely unique and wonderful soul that I will be forever proud of. Of course, in true Isabella fashion, she just made a little throat clearing noise. Then asked if maybe we had talked long enough and “shouldn’t we go down for breakfast?”

I pulled her back down and forced some kisses on her before letting her free. As she left, I said, “I love you!” to her back. And after she had gone, I whispered quietly to myself, “And we will get through this”. Knock on wood that she gets this all out in her tween years and the teen years are smoother sailing.

Also, best book that explains the tween years is:

Buy it:

Do you have a tween? What do you do in the angry or chaotic moments?

What do you do to stay sane when your kids are being wild animals?

Any parenting tips? Or memories of your tween and teen years- how did you feel? What did your parents do that helped? Share below!


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