What I've Learned About Parenting A Tween

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Parenting is not for the faint of heart. You spend years and years carefully molding your child from a helpless, adorable infant into the kind of person you would actually enjoy spending time with. You've put in the sleepless nights and wiped a million poopy butts, and just when you thought parenthood couldn't get any more maddening, humiliating or tiresome; you blink and find yourself living with a tween. These are the years. The years that caused your parents to say to you, "I can't wait for you to have a kid just like you someday."
It's not all bad, mind you. I just wish someone had prepared me for emotional highs and lows that were about to walk into my home and slap me upside the face. I thought parenting would begin to get easier as my children got older and more self-sufficient. I was wrong.
Here are a few things I've learned so far.
1-Your life becomes a Groundhog Day of repeating yourself. You will come to loathe the sound of your own voice. You may not be the one responsible for getting them dressed or putting them to bed at night, but you will follow them around reminding them to brush their teeth, change their underwear and PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY do not leave their wet towel on the bedroom carpet.
2-You are officially uncool. Anything you do or say to appear cool will make you ever more uncool. Use this to your advantage.
3-You will feel like you are back in junior high. You will feel as heartbroken as they do when they are left out or ignored. Remind them junior high is something you survive, not somewhere you set down roots.
4-Try (and then try harder) to remember how confusing and emotional these years were in your own life and treat your tween with as much respect as you can muster.
5-You will overuse phrases such as "when I was your age", "don't you dare roll your eyes at me", and "turn that music down right now" and you will wonder when you turned into your mother.
6-When you have friends over they will suddenly want to hang out you. Let them. It's good for your kids to see you are not just their mother but you are also someone's friend. They are not always the center of the universe.
7-You will actually have conversations like this on a daily basis:
You-Stop taking selfies, you have a friend in the car.
Tween-I know, I'm Snap Chatting with her.
You-I don't get it. You are sending pictures of your face to your friend who is sitting in the back seat?
Tween-Yes. And she's sending them back.
You-But you could just turn around and talk to her.
Tween-You are so embarrassing.
8-Today's kids are connected to one another, and to the outside world, via social media more than any previous generation. They live their lives almost entirely online. Understand who they are communicating with, who their friends are and control their social footprint. Tweens may be more tech-savvy than most parents but they lack the maturity to understand its lifelong impact.
9-Purchase a car you enjoy spending time in because you will spend a lot of time in that damn car.
10-Temper tantrums become much less adorable. Try to remember even though your child looks much older, their emotions are still catching up to their bodies. When all else fails, giving them the finger behind their back feels can really take the edge off.