“Pre -Tween” Craziness – by Cara Potapshyn Meyers
“A youngster between the age of 10 and 12, considered to be too old to be a child and too young to be a teenager”
My son is nine-years-old. He doesn’t quite fit the official definition of a “Tween.” I therefore refer to him as a “Pre-Tween.” His hormones are revving up. He is moody one minute and joyful the next. He is sweet and loving today and a growling bear tomorrow. I spoke to both his teacher and the parenting therapist I see. They both confirmed he is entering the age of becoming a testosterone making machine. His teacher said she sees it every year with nine and ten-year-old boys. Girls too. But boy’s testosterone definitely gets in the way of their brain chemistry at this age.
I feel kind of let down. Here I got through peri-menopause and now I am dealing with a kid who is acting like he has peri-menopause! I almost want to walk on eggshells around him! Yes, he has his anger issues, which we are trying to help him with. But he is exhibiting challenging “Teen” type of behavior as well. I know it is not just his own issues. Close friends of mine with boys the same age are referring to their sons as “Jekyll and Hyde.” And, yes, we all want to “hide” from them when they get that surge of testosterone!
My enjoyment of my son waxes and wanes. When he is docile and sweet, I relish the cuddles and nuzzles with him. But sometimes, out of nowhere, he is accusing us of “taking away” one of his toys, going into a relentless tirade, only to later find out he put his toy in the side pocket of his backpack! Oy!
What makes my son’s “Pre-Tween” case even more challenging is the fact that he has multiple disorders. So, before I act in haste and take away a privilege, I have to consider:
Is this a manifestation of his ADHD? His Auditory Processing Disorder? His Sensory Processing Disorder? His overall “anger issues?” I have to initially tread lightly and play “Child Psychologist” for a while to run through my mental checklist before I can determine that he is just acting on hormone surges and either sit down with him and discuss the inappropriateness of his behavior or to issue a privilege taken away due to his insolent actions. Not an easy task, my friends!
My son doesn’t happen to have any violent or aggressive tendencies, thank goodness. But as his hormones increase, testosterone can bring out those types of tendencies whether it is in his “nature” or not. He already wanted to practice one of his karate techniques with me and he pinned me to the floor. I couldn’t move. That scared me. He is only 60 pounds, but he is a very strong 60 pounds. I don’t want him doing this to his friends “for fun,” and firmly told him that if he wants to practice karate, it is only to be done with his father. But I could tell that he got a “rush” from physically overpowering me. He was playful about it and promised not to do it to me again. Still, I am leery.
My son knows by the look in my eye when he has “crossed a line.” He always apologizes. But he is entering a new territory to “test.” His hormones are directing it and it is unpleasant, to say the least. Just like PMS, it strikes when you least expect it. As the female authority figure in this house, I insist on respect and proper behavior. “Pre-Teen” Lion or not, family rules are family rules. No exceptions.
Thank goodness my PMS and Peri-Menopause days are behind me. Can you imagine both of us having “hormonal” days? It makes me shiver.
Are any readers experiencing these types of issues with their own “Pre-Tweens?” I would love to read your comments and about your experiences.