A big theme of this year for us is independence. And parenting our way through it.
Having given almost 11 years to the parenting service, we will now be stepping into the next zone. The next ten years. The time of which we are warned. And as if the parenting journey isn’t hard enough, we have constantly been told – ‘this is the easy bit, wait until they’re older’ and ‘the worrying gets worse’. I’m sure it will.
We have done the phases. They come thick and fast and we, like you, have lurched from one to the other and emerged satisfactorily on the other side.
And here we are arriving in the zone of which we have been warned. No rehearsal. Usual thing. See how you go.
Where we will be trading phases for changes.
Are we ready? Of course not. Just like every other parent, we will be negotiating the twists and turns of the road ahead for the first time. Will we make mistakes? Absolutely. But, equally we won’t miss soft play in the slightest.
There has to be some benefits – right?
Like many others, we shall be seeing The Kid off to secondary school in the Autumn. Something that we hope to prepare her for in the best way we know how.
And the changes are starting.
Don’t think we haven’t noticed the attitude change. Of course there has always been one – she’s a girl after all. Our girl!
But this one is slightly different in so far as it is right. Depending from which perspective you are coming from! It is also closed to negotiation. In the old way. Because it doesn’t work.
And from this comes the realisation that actually, we are all going to have to change to accommodate these changes. Because the old way was all very lovely but it doesn’t cut it anymore.
Anyone on this journey will be seeing boundaries pushed, harsh words spoken, discontent voiced and opinion given on matters where it has no place. Disagreement is the order of the day and the ability to reason will be met with hostility and argument. And then peace, joy and roly poly’s.
But it’s not an illness. It’s about growing up and becoming an individual.
And we may well have spent a few months being a bit ‘mug like’ while we got used to the new voice in our house. I applaud you if you have been there. You don’t realise you are doing it until you realise.
But pussy footing around and treading on egg shells at my age really isn’t me and Iron Man isn’t so named because he’s a mouse.
I cannot tell you how many times this poor man has been accused of taking the hairbrush and lip gloss. Deliberately.
Anyone that knows this man will know that he doesn’t have much hair of which to speak, neither is he a fan of Candy Pink.
He is a victim, as am I, of hormones and growing up. Anyway, enough about us.
And back to independence. And embracing it.
Of course it’s bloody scary. But there’s no shying away from it. It’s time to step back a little.
In the same way as our confidence only grows when we take action, so does independence.
We are not required in many areas all of a sudden. Yet so needed in others. It is also time to hone the skill of understanding because let’s face it, the tweens are going to need this more than ever.
As well as emerging unscathed from this journey, there is one goal for us here and that is that we are able to respect each other.
If there is one thing that cannot be traded, it is respect and I am so very glad that our parents had the wisdom to instil the importance of respect into us. That and understanding the meaning of no. Neither are transferable by chance. And they don’t make for the easiest of routes either.
There is a big journey ahead for The Kid. And us. At her age, we were already streetwise. We had the luxury of playing out in the street and life was definitely safer and easier. Sadly, our children have not have the privilege of such freedom which is probably why they want it all in one go – all of a sudden.
We can look to others to see how they do things but actually the buck stops with us. I know that for all of the pushes for independence that are being made, there lies apprehension. The big girl wants to walk alone, whilst the little girl is secretly looking over her shoulder. She is learning how to be safe. She has to.
Little steps with boundaries seem to be working for us. The parenting safety net is always on hand.
We are also big fans of encouraging responsibility and taking responsibility for oneself. Considering I had a Saturday job aged 11, I see absolutely no harm in doshing out a few chores around the house and have done for a while now. It’s not welcome but it works. We all have to do things that we don’t want to. Get involved I say. We all live here.
It’s so very easy to sail down the path of least resistance and there are times when we have to.
But there’s no point having three in the boat with two rowing.
Unless of course, I’m sunbathing and that is an entirely different matter.
In the meantime, let’s just give ourselves a parenting high five for all that we are about to receive.