Ten to Teen: Growing Up Too Quickly
“Dude!” my son shouts. “You don’t know what you’re talking about!” Um, did my ten-year-old just call me dude? Yes he did. And not only did he call his ever-loving mother “dude,” but he suddenly seems to think that anyone over the age of eighteen knows absolutely nothing. Nothing about the important stuff that is, like music, movies, TV shows.
I have to ask myself when did that sweet little boy who loved to cuddle up to me and read Goodnight Moon become an eye-rolling, door-slamming tween? Although we still have almost three years until full-fledged teendom, I often wonder if my son’s sudden attitude is, for lack of a better word, normal.
I could consult a bunch of so-called experts or read the latest book on parenting practices, but instead I would rather ask those who truly know—other moms. Overwhelmingly almost all of the moms that I know say the same exact thing. Their almost middle school-aged kids act more like teens than tens (or even tweens). The boys talk about their “girlfriends,” the girls talk about their “boyfriends,” and everyone seems to be texting, emailing, and downloading the cool apps.
How can this be? That these little kids are acting so mature? I mean my friends and I were still acting like children well into fifth or sixth grades. Or were we? Maybe it’s just my wishful remembering that is making me think that my child is growing up way to quickly for his own good. I was recently reminded (via some amazingly embarrassing pictures that were posted on Facebook) that in fifth grade my friends and I all thought that we were indeed teenagers. While times may have changed, my love for the Madonna Like a Virgin cassette may just be akin to my son asking if he can download the newest LMFAO song.
Even though I know that I can’t postpone the inevitable, what is the appeal of growing up anyway? I know that all of the trappings of the teenager seem very glamorous and important to a child who is just not there yet, but in reality any adult knows that being a little kid is way more fun. Free time spent playing outside, climbing trees and riding bikes or simply giggling with friends. These pursuits seem much better to me than worrying about who your homecoming date is or having the “in” brand of clothes.
Although it’s sad to think that my little baby is growing up, dwelling on the negative parts isn’t going to help me. Sometimes I think about friends who have teenagers. They thoroughly enjoy their children’s growing independence. While I will always think fondly about those cuddle-filled days, I know that I can’t stop the growing process. I might not have expected the terrible teens to start so early, but maybe it won’t be quite so bad.