PARENTING

The almost teenager

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I have always had a healthy fear of my children turning into teenagers — probably based on my personal experience of being one! But I have found it fascinating, not at all scary, to watch Coco, who is now 10, swing wildly between being a child and a teenager.

Esther and I were talking about it the other day as Sara is going through the same metamorphosis. We especially noticed it a couple a weekends ago when we were visiting and realised that Sara really wanted to hang out with us and stay up late – and yet she fell asleep while doing so. So sweet.

Neither Esther nor I had not really thought about how kids actually become teenagers. In our minds, somehow the kids would go to sleep one morning still being a child and then wake up a full blown teenager.  Not so – we have found out. On the one hand the girls can play with toys for hours, on the other hand they want to take themselves away from the rest of us and find a quiet spot to brood and read.

Coco can, in one movement, be sitting like a kid and the next moment be sitting with the attitude of a young woman! What is that all about? She wants to listen to music, develop her own dress style, talk with assurance about important issues and yet have a cuddle every night. It must been so very confusing! I almost feel as divided as she, as I know I am going to miss having her as my little girl, but I also love seeing the glimpses of the person she is growing into.

Do you remember this phase? Now that I think back I actually do remember so much of this. I remember looking down at myself in a swimming pool and suddenly realising with surprise that I might need to start wearing a real swim suit and not only little swim pants (like we all used to wear). I also remember swearing my brothers to secrecy so that I could spend hours with my Playmobil and run around dressed in a toga — but I did not want anyone to know about it. Of course, I am sure, no one cared. 😉

Do you have any experience with kids becoming teenagers? I would love to hear!

jardinduluxembourg

The above photo is one I took of Coco last autumn, already looking so grown up. The below photo is one I found recently of Easton, Quin and Coco. It was only taken 6 or 7 years ago!  How fast things change.

Emilie


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Comments (8)

Courtney in London
March 24, 2016

Oh… this nearly brought tears to my eyes, reading your words and seeing this photo from so long ago! How little they were, and it honestly feels like last year!!

It’s so true how this pre-teen phase is such an interesting one to observe (and one that provokes such different emotions for us mothers). I find that Easton is becoming so aware of the people and relationships around him, he’s becoming more interested in grown-up conversations, and he’s become so independent and mature in many ways. But on the other hand, he’s still so naive and young in his heart. Like a big puppy dog still. I find it all quite sweet. I hope it doesn’t all go down hill when they actually DO become teenagers!


Rachael
March 24, 2016

I think 10 is very young to be thinking of the word teenager, I would consider her a little girl till her 13th birthday. There is plenty of time to be a teenager, when you are 13 is just the start, of what are challenging years in the U.K., filled with GCSEs, peers, school.

I would go out of my way to preserve 10-13 as the time to be a child it should be.

The actual teenage years can be challenging and rewarding, but there is very little childhood left in it, due to the pressure of modern UK schooling and examinations. We have had work set throughout all holidays, even the break between GCSE and A Level, included preparation for A Level projects, My 2 teenagers 15 & 17 have had no mental break since age 13, there is always something hanging over them.

I think what I am trying to say, is make the most of this time of relative childhood, rather than focus on the elements that are evolving towards teenage, as sooner than you think, the pressure is on.

I should also say that I love the people they are, but at 17 they are no longer children at all.


Karen
March 24, 2016

Everything you say is spot on Rachael. 10-13 is quite a magical time as they are beginning to form considered opinions and you can see glimpses of the adults they are turning into but they are still very much children. I would say from experience use these years to make one on one time with them. Find an interest that both parent and child can do together – I don’t mean crafting or going to the park, but something with a nod to them growing up, a sport, tennis, bowling, stamp collecting, basically something that when you actually get to the teen years you both will have something to keep you together, a bond. I know what Emilie means, there certainly is a shift in a 10 year old but please don’t treat them like a teen, despite them emulating one. I have a teen and a 10 year old and there is a vast difference. 10 and 12 year olds act older than they are often but don’t have the coping mechanisms of a teen, simply due to lack of experience. The teen years are when they really spread their wings, don’t wish it away.


Emilie in Paris
March 24, 2016

Hi Rachel and Karen, thanks for your comments. I don’t think that I am suggesting 10 years olds to be treated as 15 years olds. I hope my thoughts came across as merely an observation of what goes on with ten year olds and these little moments where they are oscillating between two distinct phases. I also do not think I described my 10 year old as a teenager, as I certainly do not consider her that.


March 24, 2016

The tweenies (between child&teen)!
In Portugal we have an expression: “nem carne, nem peixe” (not meat, nor fish) wich is very good to describe this great kids!


Michelle
March 25, 2016

What a great saying!


March 26, 2016

I’m right there too, with my eldest about to turn 10. She’s noticing things about herself and other people that she never saw before. I can tell by her questions and concerns that all sorts of new ideas and questions are swirling in her mind! It’s emotionally HARD for me to see her making this transition from little girl to young lady – but I also like what I’m seeing and am keeping my fingers crossed that we will continue to be good friends. We must chat more about this in LA! ❤️


Shawn
July 22, 2016

I’ve just read a fantastic book called Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions into Adulthood by Lisa Damour and cannot recommend it enough. It is a great resource for parents who are faced with this volatile time in a young girl’s life.


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