Shortly after Abbi was born, someone said to me, “These are the easy years! Parenting a teenage girl? Good luck!”
While I wouldn’t necessarily say that the newborn, baby, and toddler years are easy and I know I’m a few years off from the official teen years, I can say that parenting Abbi now, at this stage, definitely comes with its own set of challenges!
These past few months I feel like Abbi and I are butting heads at every turn.
She wants to wear a Summery dress with no leggings in the middle of the Winter. I say NO WAY, go find some clothes appropriate for Winter. Which translates into her mind as “I don’t love you and you can never pick out your own outfits.”
She wants to watch cartoons like Bratz or Gravity Falls. I ask her to turn the channel because those cartoons are not appropriate. “It’s fine mom! I’ll just skip over the bad parts!” Umm, no! You can watch something that is actually appropriate.
I’ll call her in from playing outside with the neighbor kids because it’s getting dark and she still has homework to do. Obviously I just don’t want her to have any fun or friends. Or so she tells me.
I know she’s transitioning between little girl and pre-teen and is grasping for all this independence, but COME ON! I had no idea this period of time would be so difficult. I had no idea we would be going through this so soon! I thought we had another four or five years before we navigated these waters. But then I look at the world around my girls and I get it.
Everything from clothing to tv shows is pushing these girls to grow up faster. TV shows that undermine adults and parents. Belly shirts and high heels in the kids clothing section at Target. It’s all around us. I can’t even turn the radio on in the car in the mornings on the way to school because every other song is about sex or the morning show hosts are talking about orgies. It’s a battle.
I’m desperately trying to help us find a balance or some sort of compromise when I see issues rising up. Unfortunately it’s a frustrating process for both of us. And I am too quick to just toss my hands up in the air and tell her that either she does what I say or else.
Like I said, it’s a process. An exhausting and frustrating process. Especially when I think about the fact that I know this stage is no where near over and Zoe is soon to follow.
So tell me, all you wise parents who traversed this before me, how did you handle this? Do you feel like this stage has come earlier than in previous generations?