There really should be some type of warning when your daughter officially hits the ‘tween’ years. Something that flashes, ‘Warning! Warning!’ and gives you adequate notice that something completely unexpected is about to come out of your kids mouth and will continue to occur until the next stage begins. There should be some type of forecasting system set up for this as well. It would help immensely with my future planning.
My daughter is 9 1/2 years old and will officially be 10 in August which puts us in the ‘tween’ category. This category is supposed to be the stage that kids enter prior to becoming a teenager. I don’t remember there being a ‘tween’ stage when I was a kid. I only really remember one stage growing up which was called, Completely Crazy, Alien and Hormonal.
So with this ‘tween’ stage apparently comes the need to confess all your sins that occurred since you were born. I wasn’t sure this was what she was doing until it started to become a regular occurrence and the confessions started to become a little more, shall we say, graphic? My once quiet car rides with Emma were now filled with her confessing everything that she could remember doing wrong since she was 5. You think I’m kidding? Here are a few examples of what she’s felt the need to unload on me over the last month.
- Picking her nose and eating it when she was 6. Right of passage..I get it
- Hiding a bad grade from me last year. Expected…I’m pretty scary when it comes to bringing C’s home
- Going to her locker at school instead of going to the bathroom. I didn’t quite get this one but apparently you aren’t supposed to go to your locker in the middle of class so she tells the teacher she’s going to the bathroom. This is kind of resourceful right?
- Drinking pee out of the toilet when she was 5. Hmmmmm…not sure how that’s possible, but okay.
- Hitting a camp counselor when she was 8 in a place that she shouldn’t have hit him. Great…maybe he deserved it?
- Finding poop behind the couch when she was 7 and touching it with her finger. Oooookay..sure
- Saying bad words in her head that she really wanted to say out loud. I was tempted to just have her say them just to get them out of her system. Apparently that would be bad parenting so I decided otherwise. We did however do a Q&A session and outlined what all curse word means so she wouldn’t have to wonder about that anymore. That was one for the books.
- Calling me an idiot in her head when she was mad at me. What?????? She quickly followed this one up with the fact that she told herself that she knew I wasn’t an idiot and that she loved me. What?????
I started to feel like a priest in a Catholic church since she was always cornering me whenever she had the chance and spilling her guts of all the things that she did wrong over the years. One day before we even started driving I told her to just get it all out so I didn’t have to hear about it for the rest of the day. So we sat in the car for about 30 minutes until she got all the things off her mind that she was planning on confessing to me that day. It was kind of like ‘Speed Confessing’. She would say what she did and then I’d say, ‘Okay, next….’ For those of you that know me well, know that I’m not the most sensitive and patient person for this type of thing. So you can imagine me sitting in my car with my head in my hands listening to all the confessions of my 9 year old and waiting for the end to come….oy. I really should have had all boys.
The daily 30-60 minute confessionals were getting a little extreme and more regular. They were getting to the point where any second she had me alone she’d start spilling her guts about something new that she had locked up in her brain that she never told me about. I felt like I was in a war zone and constantly being hit with surprise attacks. I was dodging in and out of safe zones in order to survive. Seriously, it’s been the longest month of my entire life. In order to motivate myself to not completely freak out on her I kept telling myself, ‘talking is good, communication is good, we want our kids to tell us everything’. I can hear my parents laughing at this whole situation as I type this.
So I do what I normally do when I am presented with a challenge. I break it down, analyze it and come up with the best solution to fix it. If you’re wondering if I handle all my problems with my kids as I do with my problems at work then you’re correct. It works, so don’t knock it. I soon realized that my daughter’s brain is a pretty logical one. She needs to have a logical answer for everything that’s going on in her head. She needs to get things out and not have any ‘gray’ areas left behind. If things aren’t completely black and white and if she isn’t completely satisfied with the outcome then she will keep pestering me about things until the answer is crystal clear and makes logical sense to her. This means that we’re officially past the stage of me making up answers in attempt to buy time before I have to give her the REAL answer. Great.
My first solution to the confessing was to get her more involved in church so that she understood that confessing everything she did wrong to me didn’t really do anything. I grew up in a very religious household and I never seemed to have these large ‘guilt’ feelings over my head so I felt the need to go back to my roots and introduce my daughter to church again where she could feel some peace about the things that she felt like she’s done wrong in the past. I assured her that God would forgive her for touching poop. Hopefully this would also lessen our daily confessional sessions and rescue me from wanting to throw myself out of my moving car on a daily basis.
The second solution that I had was to force her to start keeping a daily diary on her computer about all the things that were on her mind. I know that I can be pretty talkative but this kid can REALLY talk. She seems to have a ridiculous amount of information in her head that she just wants to get out and apparently no one really wants to listen. Creating an online diary for her to to express all the thoughts that were swimming around in her head should help ease her mind and hopefully help her be more creative with expressing herself. She asked me if she could write whatever she wanted and I said yes. I told her to use this as her own personal space to write about anything that was on her mind.
This seemed like a fantastic idea until I read her first entry. I guess I should have been more specific and let her know that typing out curse words is the same as saying them out loud. I also told her that we probably didn’t want to have written documentation showing all the words that she’s hearing on a daily basis and wondering why she can’t say or use them like everyone else. I also mentioned that writing out the hand gestures that she’s seeing her friends use each week is not entirely the best use of her daily diary. I commended her for her openness and ability to express herself freely. She was quite proud of herself. I think it’s safer to go back to the daily confessions. Oy…