The Irony of a Tween by Cara Potapshyn Meyers
Say the word, “Tween” to any Mom, and you will probably get the “eye roll” reaction. Followed with a comment along the lines of, “And it gets worse once their hormones are raging in their teen years!”
I have to say that, at least for now, I am finding my son’s “Tweeness” to be comical, adorable and engaging. Laugh-out-loud hysterical at times. For example, here is a conversation we had last week about the term, “Wing Man.”
BRANDON (my son): Mom…Ariel (a boy) is my “Wing Man”…and so is Jonathan.
ME: Really? What’s a “Wing Man?”
BRANDON: A friend that has your back…
ME: In what way?
BRANDON: Well, like, if some kid is bothering you, your “Wing Man” stands up for you.
ME: Is anyone bothering you?
BRANDON: No…but Ariel and Jonathan are my “Wing Men” just in case. I’m also Ariel’s “Wing Man.”
ME: So you watch each other’s backs…
BRANDON: Exactly. But Jonathan doesn’t need me to watch his back. Ethan does, so I am Ethan’s “Wing Man.”
ME: Has anyone bothered Ethan?
BRANDON: No, but he needs me as his “Wing Man” just in case.
ME: (Thinking that this is a great, creative way for kids to avoid bullying and feel empowered): So basically all of you are there for each other if one of you needs help.
BRANDON: Yeah, but like I said, some of us (his friend’s) need a “Wing Man” more, like Ethan, and some don’t need any, like Jonathan.
ME: I’m sure that even though someone like Jonathan doesn’t want to have a “Wing Man,” one of you would jump in and become his “Wing Man” if there was a problem…
BRANDON: Oh, yeah, sure! But he’s bigger than all of us so nobody will bother him…
ME: I see…Well it’s always good to know that your friends are there when you need them. Do you also know that if someone bothers either you or your friends, one of you should find an adult and get them involved…?”
BRANDON: Yeah, I know…but nobody is going to bother us because we have “Wing Men.”
ME: Well, that’s good to know! I’m glad you and your friends have a system like that!
BRANDON: Yeah, well, I kinda thought it up and everyone liked the idea so we decided to use it.
ME: Bravo to you for thinking up this amazing system!
I had to tell the world about this conversation because it truly is an ideal way to forge stronger friendships, especially at a time when these kids are on the cusp of becoming Middle Schoolers. None of them want to wind up like Greg, the lead character in “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” series of books. Knowing that your friends are there for you, emotionally as well as physically helps these kids to feel strong and empowered. And it doesn’t surprise me at all that my son designed this “system.” He is a born leader and I know he heard the term, “Wing Man” on a Tween sitcom. All he did was bring the term to his group of friends and they made a specifically designed pact out of it. I love the idea. But as you must have noted, I also told my son that an adult needs to become involved in any “bullying” type situations. He is well aware and I know he would act on it because he has done so in the past with minor skirmishes.
This next conversation with my son will have you in hysterics! I was laughing to myself long after it was over. I’m sure you will too!
BRANDON: Mom? I get a lot of fevers during the day.
ME: What do you mean by “fevers?”
BRANDON: Well, it’s not like a real fever, I just get really hot and start to sweat for a few minutes, then it goes away.
ME: How many times does this happen during the day?
BRANDON: I don’t know…5 or 6 times. But it happens almost every day. I feel it right now.
ME: Let me take your temperature to make sure you don’t have a fever… (I take his temperature, which is normal). Well, my friend, I believe what you have is called “Tweenage Menopause.”
ME: Your body is doing that to help it get ready for you to become a teenager.
BRANDON: Really??! That’s cool!!
ME: I thought you said you were hot (kiddingly, with a smile)?
BRANDON: Mom…you know what I mean…
ME: I know, Honey…(leaning over to hug him). Now, about those 12 “baby teeth” that haven’t fallen out…
“Tweenage Menopause!” Lol! I have no idea how I came up with that term, but it surely fit the description of my son’s “symptoms!”
More and more…day by day, I am enjoying this time in my son’s life immensely! His desire to figure out the world, coupled with his naiveté about the same, makes for some extremely interesting conversations! To say the least!
I could go on and on about the adoring elements about him, from how he flips his hair back in such a suave manner (other Mom’s who know him have pointed out the same gesture), to his sudden interest in music, (any Mom who has a Tween will recognize, “What Does the Fox Say?”), to picking up a new generation of phrases and tweak them to his advantage. I am actually writing all of these special conversations down in a journal called, “My Quotable Kid: A Parent’s Journal of Unforgettable Quotes.” This journal can be tailored to be used with more than one child. I am so glad I have it and am recording these moments in it. I expect the actual teen years to be more of a challenge. But won’t it be nice to read this book in several years and be reminded of my son’s comical quotes and amusing happenings!
Yes, the Tween years can be overwhelming. Finding the delight in those years, however, can be golden!
Tags: "Diary of a Wimpy Kid", "My Quotable Kid: A Parent's Journal of Unforgettable Quotes", "Tweenage Menopause", "What Does the Fox Say?", "Wing Man", bullying, Cara Potapshyn Meyers, friends, Middle Schoolers, new generation of phrases, son, Teenager, Tween