Parenting the Tweens

It’s been ten years since I’ve had a tween.  My first two tweens were boys.  I think the greatest challenge might have been keeping them in pants that were long enough and shoes that still fit.




Helloooo….10 year old little girl!  Wow.  The mood swings, the crying, the drama.   It is not for the faint of heart.  What happened to my kind, caring, cuddly little girl?  She does show up every now and then but you can’t be certain when those times will be.  The hormonal version shows up suddenly and without warning.  She might jump into a board game, hop into the backseat, or reveal herself in the middle of a math problem.  There are a few things that calm her a bit.  Sometimes food settles her.  A hot bath can help.  Usually it’s only sleep that makes her flee.

She can certainly cause turmoil in what was a normal day.  She blows in like a hurricane and exits behind a locked door.  To everyone’s relief, “she” usually doesn’t hang around for an entire day and the loving, kind version of her returns.

Sometimes it is a challenge to accept this phase for what it is.  A phase.  This, too, shall pass.

But what to do?  Are these years simply to be survived?  Should we just buckle up and hang on, hoping that this is similar to a roller coaster ride that we will soon step away from, still intact?

Working with middle school students for so many years as a teacher has given me a little bit of insight.  Strangely enough, I’ve had to remember how I dealt with other people’s tumultuous children in order to deal with my own.

It is good to remember these things (preaching to me here):

  1. As much as it upsets the household for out of control tween girl to enter the scene, it upsets that little growing girl more.  Having mood swings and dealing with such confusing thoughts and emotions is a tough job.  It’s tiring for everyone involved.
  2. It is a confusing time.  Yesterday she was playing with Barbie dolls and today she’s noticing underarm hair.  She’s in this body that’s changing and it’s hard to know exactly where all of those things fit into “who” she is.
  3. Remind her of her worth.  We haven’t reached the acne and oily skin phase yet but I know that it’s coming.  My husband has done a great job of always reminding the kids that their most beautiful feature is their heart.  That might be tough for her to remember when she glances in the mirror but plant those seeds anyway. Daily.
  4. Cheer her on.  Sometimes you can’t cheer her up.  You just can’t.  If I’ve learned one thing in parenting (or in any other relationship), it is that you can’t make other people happy.  Encourage her through the rough patches and tell her that soon enough, she’ll come out on the other side of this stronger and more capable.
  5.  Teach her.  In my opinion, one of the most uncertain times of a girl’s life is when she just doesn’t know what or how to do something.  It is hard to be the person who “just doesn’t know.”  Don’t let her find out about how her body will change during PE or gym class.  Spend some time talking with her about it.  Hopefully, she fully trusts you to have her best interest at heart.  If you don’t have that bond already, it is not too late.  Start talking. If she wants to know how to do something like shave her legs, don’t let her be the bandaid wearing girl who butchered her knees.  Show her.  Not in a big deal, weirded out kind of way but in a simple, lighthearted way. This helps it not to feel so awkward.

I know that I could go on with this list.  There is so much that I still don’t know and that I’m learning.  Mostly learning by doing it wrong and then trying to fix it.   🙂

As always, I’m a work in progress.

What about you?  How are you making these transition years   tolerable   wonderful?

 

 

My Favorite Trim Healthy Mama Recipes

A few months in with Trim Healthy Mama, I believe this plan just might work!  Who knew? 😉




I blogged about a few changes that I made initially to get me started.

 

I want to share a few of my favorites here.  I’m linking to the original articles and recipes so that you can see the amazing photographs.  When I’m HANGRY, I am not stopping to take a pretty picture.  I’m thankful for these ladies who have done the hard work!

This cinnamon roll muffin in a mug WITH cream cheese frosting is from northernnester.com and is uh-mazing!  It is so filling and I feel like I have eaten something that is off plan.  Hers is really pretty. I just mix mine up in a microwaveable bowl and dig in.  It’s really worth a try!

Lazy Lasagna from Trim Healthy Mama is really good.  When I first thought of replacing my noodles with spinach, I wasn’t very excited.  However, the flavors are wonderful and you don’t miss those carbs.  It is a keeper!

These banana muffins from mymontanakitchen are also very yummy.  They were one of the first recipes that I tried and I have made them many more times.  They are quick.  I eat them with plain greek yogurt and really enjoy them.

In case you think that I eat too many muffins (I guess I might) I will add in a few recipes that are also keto friendly.

Loaded cauliflower is a side dish that we can’t get enough of.  It is SO good!  It might sound weird to switch our your potatoes for cauliflower but just try it!

Another favorite is low carb broccoli cheese soup with bacon .  This is so good!  I keep saying filling because, to me, the best recipes are those that fill me up and don’t add pounds to the scales.

Fat head rolls are also a great go-to bread.

So, there you have it.  These are a few recipes that I love in one place.  Thanks for reading my notes to self. 🙂

 

Baggage that I Put Down

I usually work into most posts that I’m a work in progress but think I need to start this one in that way.




I don’t always do this perfectly but I have certainly come a long way!  The more I practice what I’m about to “preach,” the better I feel.

Let me say that I love the forties.  Not the 1940’s era.  The being in the 40’s age group.

Don’t get me wrong.  There are a few things that I would like from my 20’s.  I wish my middle section was toned and would like to tighten up that five baby stretched out skin on my tummy.  Who am I kidding?  I would like to buy the entire line of Rodan and Fields to take ten years off of my crows feet and jowls.  A few less varicose and spider veins on the calves would be nice.

Ahh….I digress.  I was about to tell you why I love being the age that I am.

Even with the marks and stretches and lines in the wrongs places, I love this season of life.  With it comes a freedom.

There are some bags that I carried for so long and I have learned/ am learning to put them down.  With each one, my load is lighter and I have been given so much freedom!  I want to shout it at the 20 somethings so that they don’t carry it around for 20 more years unnecessarily.

Here are a few of the things that I have taken out of my bag and I feel so much lighter for it:

  1. The ability to let other people’s opinion drive me.  WOW!  That’s a big one to unpack.  My phases went like this:  I spent a lot of time worrying about what other people thought of me, came to the realization that people don’t even think about me as much as I thought they did, and then decided not to care.  If I start to feel that burden hopping back into my bag, I remind myself of who I am in Christ.   A little side note is that I have a handful of great friends who I trust to give honest, Christlike feedback and I listen closely to their counsel.
  2. The need for perfection.  This has permeated most areas of my life ( work in progress.)  I haven’t and won’t be a perfect friend, parent, spouse, daughter, aunt. teacher, housekeeper, decorator.  Any of it.  I can’t even say that I’ve done my best for all of my life.  But I do try to improve daily.  A few years ago I began saying it would be “just right.”  One of my friends had burned something that she was cooking and I said “Oh it will be just right.”  From then on, that became our phrase for it’ll be ok if it’s not perfect.  It has been used over and over and over.  Guess what?  It’s always worked out ok.  Because that small stuff really isn’t worth sweating over after all.   The next time you are stressing because it’s not working out just perfectly, try telling yourself it’s “just right.”
  3. The guilt of my past.  Man, that’s a big one.  I shoula’, coulda’, woulda’ but I did or didn’t.   This freedom has come from Christ and Christ alone.  I can look back at regrets from thirty years ago or even yesterday.  If I’m living intentionally (and I hope I am) then I am going to have to trust that God will work all things out for my good.  Satan is a deceiver and a liar.  When he brings up sins and failures that I’ve been forgiven for, I’m sending him right back where he came from.  I’m taking hold of those thoughts and living in the freedom that I now have.
  4. Fear and worry.  I’ve come so far. I come from a long line of worriers and that is a hard, hard cycle to break.  But I’m finally making progress.  Worrying about the present, the future (and #3 the past) takes SO much energy away from just living today.  Very little of what I could worry about could/can be changed.  So I pray.  I believe that God is for me.  I move on.

I’m sure my bag is lighter because of a million other things that I put out of my life.  Sometimes I have to put them out daily.  Sometimes it’s hourly.

However, I am so thankful that God has helped to settle my mind and allow me to unpack some things that have weighed me down.

Sometimes the struggle isn’t putting them down.  It’s leaving them there.

As always, I’m a work in progress.