I remember fourth grade — the grade my daughter is in now — with a whole lot of fear and loathing. I can’t be alone. One study of adolescents, commissioned by the American Association of University Women, found that at age 9, girls are overwhelmingly confident, assertive and feel positive about themselves. By the time they hit high school, however, just one third still feel that way. My daughter is about to stride headlong into a sea of hormones and increasing independence, a perfect storm that can turn even the most self-confident, well-adjusted kid into a quivering mess of self-doubt.
I don’t envy her.
Except, well, maybe I do. A small bit.
Not the turning on oneself that is inevitable in the tween and teen years, nor the battle with ones own body that defines puberty. That I wish I could bear for her, but as I can’t, will do everything in my limited power as mother (and thus stupidest person on earth) to help her through.
But I can’t deny the excitement of facing reinvention.
Her reinvention. Her decision to turn herself from the child who wears the clothes I buy and eats the food I prepare, listens to the music I put on the radio and watches the movies I pop into the Blu-Ray player, into whoever it is that she will one day be.
This is perhaps a mother’s greatest blessing and curse in one: that her children begin to shift from dependent on them to independent in this time frame. It’s why the teen years are so negatively reported by just about anyone: kids are butting heads against their parents as they try to prove they are ready to do it on their own, even when they aren’t … quite.
I’m supposed to be terrified of the teen years, and I am. I’m exhausted just thinking about them. If we battle over the state of her bedroom now, what will it be like when we’re facing off over bigger, truly life-changing issues? Can I survive? Can she?
I’m not ready to put her in a car with a teenage driver, even less prepared to let her BE the teenage driver.
My comfort is in knowing that in quiet moments, I can step back. I can watch. I can be in the front row of the theater as she invents her own plays for the drama of life.
What keeps you going as you face the teen years?
Thinking about re-invention? Check out these Netflix options to carry on the conversation with your family:
For the younger kids:
For the bigger kids:
For the adults:
Have you “liked” Inside Out Motherhood on Facebook yet?
Disclaimer: As a member of the Netflix Stream Team, I receive free Netflix. All opinions in this post are my own.