God, my Preteens are hard work sometimes!
They have all the stroppiness that teenagers are famed for, but very little of the independence that would allow them to get out of the house and out from under my feet. They still have meltdowns worthy of any toddler if tired, hungry, thirsty or stressed, but can argue quite convincingly that black is white if they are in the mood.
And they always pick their moments. We never have this challenging behaviour when I’m feeling up for it; it’s always when I am tired, or busy doing 37 other things or my mind is elsewhere. It’s so hard to ‘be the adult’ when you are already feeling mildly riled, isn’t it?
Not all of my friends’ preteens are like this but rightly or wrongly, it gives me great comfort to hear that a good number can be as annoying as mine. As for the others, perhaps they will be worse as teenagers or maybe they are just more compliant children than mine? I’m not sure it’s always a reflection on the parents either, before someone starts beating that drum.
Compared to my other two, who are almost 5 and almost 7, my 9 and 11 year olds are just a completely different kettle of fish. The younger ones are not always obedient and compliant but their attitude is just mostly more helpful. They can be cajoled into most things, and respond well to positive reinforcement. The preteens sometimes seem like they enjoy making life difficult for everyone just for the hell of it.
I was trying to remember at what age my kids changed from mostly wanting to please, to seemingly mostly wanting to annoy, but found I couldn’t pinpoint it. Sometime around year 4/5 seems to be the closest I can get.
Today I was out with a friend who has two children of her own; one is younger, while the other is a preteen. Between us, we had a 9 year old, a 10 year old and an 11 year old and didn’t we know it. We had snapping, bossiness, sibling intolerance and much rolling of eyes. We wanted to take a photo of them all together so we could compare them to our previous days out, and this is what we got. Perfect.
Spot the sunny little almost 7 year old.
She’s not really as angelic as she looks, but I find myself watching her for signs of the metamorphosis of school-aged child to preteen. Hopefully we have at least another year or two before it begins.