Dealing with Tweens

A few years ago, this word “Tween” popped up. For those of you who might not know (or have lived under a rock for the past decade but are mysteriously familiar with the workings of the internet), a “tween” is a child who is out of the “kid stage” of life but not quite a teenager. In looking up the term, it is used to refer to kids as young as eight, but in my mind, a tween is a kid that has hit the double-digits but isn’t yet 13.

By the accepted definition, our oldest two children are tweens. But by my definition, only my daughter, Oriyah, is truly a tween. This may differ from child to child, but Joey, my nine-year old is very much still a kid. Oriyah, on the other hand, has entered into the true no-mans land of tween-hood.

According to an image search, a tween is someone with an extremely dysfunctional sense of what the word "fashion" means.

As we were walking into our local Wal-mart tonight, she says to me, “Well, Dad, I guess I’m a tween now.” It was just a very matter-of-fact statement of how she sees herself. And I guess, in a sense, it’s true. She has started having little mini-teenage attitudes at times. She’s starting to get annoyed sometimes when we ask her to help with her younger siblings. Don’t get me wrong, I still think Oriyah is a wonderful person and she is a big help around the house. I’m just starting to see little bits of teen-ness starting to peek through.

As a Dad, this makes everything in me start to panic a little bit. The idea that my daughter is going to start being interested in boys (or probably already is) freaks me out. (The realization that boys are going to start being interested in my daughter, on the other hand, makes me want to start purchasing high caliber sniper rifles and start taking training courses in Ju Jitsu or something).

As far back as recorded time, kids have always wanted to grow up faster than they ought to. But for some reason, it seems to me that kids are trying to grow up so much faster these days. Maybe it’s all the technology. Maybe it’s media-driven. Maybe it’s just that I’m getting older.

When I was 10, there was no such thing as a “tween.” You were a kid and did kid stuff, and then one day puberty hit, and suddenly you were a teen. There was no in-between. Kid…BOOM…teen. End of story. Does anyone have any insight as to where this notion that we need such a thing as tweens came from? Please feel free to share your ideas in the comments.

For now, I’m heading out to line the perimeter of my yard with razor wire…my daughter is growing up!!!

Until next time…