Sunday, 6 June 2010

Entering the hormonal world of the pre-teen

After today, I think I can safely say that we have entered the nightmare zone of the pre-teens.

I am discovering the pre-teen landscape takes many forms.

There is a lot of random screaming, sudden outbursts of piteous crying, and unpredictable explosive fits of violence, some of which involves tables.

There is a lot of sudden and sustained shouting too. Of the type DO YOU WANT ME TO PUNCH YOU IN THE NOSE? WELL, DO YOU?

Then there is the other type: the sneer attack, executed with indifferent glance, hair flick and hip hand.

That last one is brutal. It aims to murder me with words.

But I am finding this territory very confusing.

Part of me wants to use the child management techniques that I know for sure worked six years ago. Hey, Look! There is a balloon!

But that's not going to work. I can see the pre-teen has a developed brain and can follow an argument through. They know a pathetic distraction method when they see one. It leaves me flustered, knowing that part of me is inadequate, and confounded, and bewildered. I do not know how to react.

But I must not show my confusion. To do that is to critically delay for seconds while I think the situation through, and that gives the pre-teen the crucial advantage and authority. They will think their sneer has worked, and that they have won.

I need to plan ahead. Maybe this moment is a secret test of my parenting. I must be super ego. I must model calm, parental authority. I must shut my gaping mouth, and think before I speak. I must avoid harridan shrieking, undignified yelling, sarcastic answers. If I do that, afterwards I will feel ashamed.

But part of me is outraged with this cruel betrayal! How could they use their dearest mama in such a vile way! Me! I have given ALL. I could wring my hands, tear at my hair, and rend my clothes with the disloyal serpent's teeth I have bred!

But part of me would like to punch them in the face first.

So I am finding this moment of crisis parenting particularly difficult.

Especially the part of me that is secretly impressed that they can shoot a wisecrack backchat in a fingerclick. They do it with just the right pause. A perfect intonation.

That takes skill. That takes linguistic ability. That takes interpretation, social judgment, cool and confident delivery. Ahh. See that pre-teen? That's my girl.


Sugarplum Kawaii said...

Welcome to my world!

At least you don't have the added nightmare of school peer pressure.

My favourite line at the moment is the 'ole chestnut...'I'm your Mum...not your best friend.'

Fun 'aint it.

Kestrel said...

We've hit the pre-pubertal days here too. I am taking up karate.

Ceri said...

Yep, here too, but with the male of the species.

MadameSmokinGun said...

Face it - you're just SO wrong. End of!

Flicks hair Exits stage left Loudly

sharon said...

Been there, done that! It wasn't pretty!

Rachel M. said...

sounds downright terrifying, not sure I will get through it without my own temper tantrums and outraged screaming!

Katherine said...

"Hey, Look! There is a balloon!" - that really made me laugh Grit.

Seriously, you'll get through. Just pick your fights. And try to keep the average to fewer than one a day.
And never get physical.

If you can do that, you'll be doing well.