When I was seventeen and pregnant, I had a well-meaning aunt suggest that maybe I should give my baby up for adoption.

“Babies are hard,” she said. “Babies cry all the time. Babies need to eat. Every day. You can never leave them. Babies! BABIES! Don’t have babies!!!”

Yeah like I’m going to be scared of something that’s not even two feet tall.

If she’d been smart, she wouldn’t have bothered trying to warn me about the awfulness of babies anyways. Really, what she should have said was “Remember how you were five years ago? Yeah, you have this baby and someday you’ll have a twelve-year-old too.”  That would have scared me shitless. Because let me tell you something. I do remember me at twelve and I was awful.

sad_eveFor example, this photo was taken of me on the Fourth of July when I was twelve. I was at a lovely party with my family, at our rich friends’ house, with tons of food, soda, and two pools. So, why was I so sadly hugging this dog?   BECAUSE I WAS. Twelve year olds make no sense. That’s what someone should have told me before I started having sex.“Here use this condom because preteens are awful people.”

But truthfully, even if that’s what she had told me, I honestly can say that I would still never have been prepared for this beautiful, sweet, happy little angel:

jacquai-smilingweb

To turn into this:

angry-12-year-old

If you’ve ever had a 12-year-old, you know there are plenty of reasons you may want to kill that child. For example, here is a list of some of the reasons I’ve wanted to kill my son in the last month:

  • Excessive whining
  • He ate the chocolate I was hiding (from him).
  • He left the kitchen a mess after making an egg.
  • The doorknob in his bedroom is no longer attached to the door.
  • There are dirty socks everywhere.
  • Some of those dirty socks are mine.
  • because he keeps stealing my D*@N socks instead of washing his own.
  • We used to have dozens of forks. Now we have four.
  • He ate a rueben sandwich then farted corned beef farts on my bed. Then left the room.
  • He skipped after school math help to play football with friends.
  • He is failing three subjects.
  • He lies all the time like it’s his job.
  • He keeps turning the shower head to the setting that uses the most water possible.
  • He loves to change the station I’m singing to when we’re driving in the car even though he knows passengers don’t get to choose the music.
  • Did I mention the whining? And the eye rolling? And the crying for no reason?

But even with all these perfectly valid reasons, we all know we shouldn’t kill our offspring. No matter how much of jerk he or she may be, we all reasonably know that death by parent is not the answer. So here I stand today, with a very good list of reasons why you shouldn’t kill your twelve-year-old.

Reasons Not To Kill Your 12-Year-Old

(Even though they totally deserve it.)

(Because they’re assholes.)

1. This is a great opportunity to try some new hair dye colors.

Deep Burgundy Brown, Auburn Black, Rich Mahogany,  Dark Iridescent Blond, Deep Copper, Very Light Natural Blonde. Can’t choose your favorite color? It doesn’t matter! Try them all! That’s how often you’ll be touching up your newly popped grey hairs now that you’ve entered what I like to refer to as “the Dark Ages of Childhood”.greyhair

 

2. Orange is not really the new black.

A murder charge is a serious thing. You’re looking at 25 to life if you do that little brat in and you’ve got to ask yourself if that’s really how you want to go down.

mugshot

 

3. They can’t help it

See these two brains? Do you see the difference between a normal 12-year-old’s brain and a 12-year-old’s brain on drugs? No? THAT’S BECAUSE THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE. 12-year-olds are basically the same as people on drugs.

12braincompare

 

4. Someday they’ll grow out of it

Rumor has it that at around 26 they will like you again.

hopepillow

 

5. Someday you’ll need them to wipe your butt.

Let’s be honest, you’re getting old. And someday you’re going to need someone to take care of you. Killing your kids now means not only have you wasted 12 years getting them this far alive but also, you will have no one to cut your lawn for you when you’re 80.

 

Jackie

6. Because you love that little fucker.

As unreasonable as that may sound at this point, you know it’s true. You know deep down somewhere, hidden underneath all the glasses of wine, you still love that monster that you created so many years ago.

happy 12 year old

Alternatives to killing your child

1. Send them to a boarding or military school

There’s no shame in shipping your once favorite person in the world off to be raised by strangers until this storm passes. Remember, they’re qualified strangers that you’re paying to raise your child and your kid is probably going to be fine.

boardingschool

2. Get a divorce

You know how divorced parents always tell their kids it wasn’t their fault? They’re lying. Everyone with children that gets divorced does so because they have realized that it might be the only way to get some kid free time. Great when they’re toddlers! Also great when they’re teens!

divorce

 

3. Remember the good times

Sometimes I just stand in my living room and stare at this picture of my son back when he was a sweet, chubby, delicious newborn baby. And he walks in and is like “Why are you staring at my baby picture mom? Would you please just throw that away? Why are you trying to ruin my life?!” and I’m all “Oh no reason, just trying to remember how much time and energy I’ve already invested in you and getting you this far alive. Best walk on by, son.”

babyangel

4. Hug him

Everyday. Everywhere. Especially in front of his friends.  Because if you can’t kill him, at least you can make him wish you would.

This post was originally featured on Eve’s blog, That’s My Apple

My Mom has a friend whose daughter is having a difficult time in middle school, and it has spurred a few conversations. Apparently, she is not only being bullied by her peers, but by a parent who is texting her, and getting more catty then a Middle School student. WTF is that about? I can see getting involved in a productive way, but a grown woman texting a 12 year old and calling them awful names? There is definitely a problem here, and what are you teaching your kid?

Through a crazy twist of fate I ended up volunteering at the same dinner as this little girl. There was a situation and coincidentally I ended up sticking up for her. She reminded me of me. I didn’t know until later that night that it was the same girl. How awesome is that?

There are moments when I feel like that little girl. That tween who was just too innocent and naïve to be cool, and I realize that everyone was afraid of something at that age. We’re all afraid of something still! Hopefully, you find your Romy to your Michelle and make it through life less scathed.

My birthday is in August and the year I was going into 7th grade no one came to my birthday party. Before you feel sorry for me just know that while there are moments I’m haunted by this, it’s more that I’m haunted because I know some kid somewhere is facing the same struggle or worse.

It turns out the girls all conspired that I wasn’t “cool,” enough and they would RSVP and then just not show up. They thought that it was really funny, but for me I thought that it defined my worth. I’ve since forgiven those girls. One even apologized.

I was also that kid that just kept going back in for more because I just really wanted to be liked. The same girl that didn’t come to my birthday party was telling me to ask my Mom what a condom was so she could laugh at me. My poor mother was caught so off guard.

I know that it can be difficult. On one hand you want to help your kid, and on the other hand you want to teach them to fight their own battles. I think that we think that once kids are at that self-sufficient age of tying their own shoelaces, washing their own ass, and telling you that you’re annoying and they don’t need you. I’m pretty sure that I can tell you from experience that that is when they need you the most.

Beyond unconditional love, which is super important, here are a few things that may have helped me. I hope that everyone can help each other and it opens up a dialogue…

1. COMMUNICATION: How do you communicate? Do you communicate? Pass each other notes under the dinner table? Do you talk it out? Have a family meeting? Dance it out? What works for you? (Find a way!)

2. RESPECT: you can treat your kid with respect, respect their privacy, and still be aware of what they’re up to.

3. DA TRUF: Be honest and open with them. I didn’t know my Mom was ever 12.

4. WHERE ARE YOU WALKING: Teach them that sometimes the best answer is to take the high road…

5. LEAD BY EXAMPLE: Tell them that it’s okay to stick up for themselves, and know that you’re allowed to stick up for yourself too.

6. NO CELL PHONE RULE: Put your electronics down and really listen to your kids even if they’re being assholes. (Even if you think that they don’t deserve it) I’m not saying to coddle but I’m saying to treat them with respect.

7. YOU ARE WORTHY: Don’t put yourself down in front of them. This breeds similar behavior. Know your worth too!

8. THE SILENT TREATMENT: If they won’t talk to you find someone in your life, maybe even a neutral person that they will talk to and make sure that they are super present.

9. CONTROL: Be specific with your words, and honest about yourself. Do you mean right now or can you wait for them to complete a task? Don’t ask them to do something later, but you mean right now. (I felt like I had no control as a kid.)

10. VALIDATE their worth, their likes, their dreams and goals. They may be different from yours. Their accomplishments. Let them know that you’re proud of them.

11. MISTAKES: Remember that we can all learn from our mistakes, and we’re allowed to make them.

12. LET IT GO! If we can learn one thing from Frozen, Let It Go. Are their things that you can let go of, but you just can’t? Is the end result is the same, but the task at hand is performed in a different way? “You never help! Why don’t they help?
Or do they just not help YOUR way? Is it just what they do is not good enough? It’s okay to let it go.

13. EXPECTATIONS: Expect Less, Encourage More. Strive for excellence not perfection. No one is perfect. Everyone is an individual, we all learn differently, we all have different talents. We all have our limits, and if we set an unreasonably high standard for someone, that person will always let you down. They will feel like they’re letting you down, and that will make them feel inadequate.

14. STOP beating yourself up, parents. There will come a point when your kids realize that you were just doing the best that you can.

15. BE PRESENT

Photo courtesy of thebluecloset.com.

My oldest daughter recently turned eleven and started middle school. Therefore, we are jumping headfirst into “tweendom” and I’ve been doing more than my fair share of looking back.

Honestly, I have entered this phase of parenthood guardedly because I have heard so many cautionary tales about tweens. I’ve gotten warnings about the impending hormonal meltdowns, mean girls, bullying, and the bad behavior on social media that many tween parents have experienced. I frequently hear comments such as “Oh, you’re in for it now!”

However, I’m more of a “glass half full” kind of gal and, quite frankly, I am tired of all the negativity. As we tread the waters of these tween years, I’m beginning realize that it’s really not all that bad. As I recall days and phases of the past, I am actually kind of happy to be where we are. In fact, I think I would take my tween over a toddler any day. Here’s why:

She can express her feelings.- We’ve all experienced that screaming toddler who has very few words and wondered “Is she hungry? Tired? Maybe just frustrated?” Well, with tweens, there is no guessing game. They may have a hormonal meltdown complete with tears and slamming doors, but you can rest assured that you will know exactly what he/she is feeling!

She can have a conversation. – When I asked my toddler about her day at preschool, I usually got a very vague answer about who she played with on the playground or what they had for snack. Now when I ask, she can tell me what she learned, what homework she has, and who she sat with at the lunch table. We can also talk about current events, or books she’s reading, or Selena Gomez’s much too revealing VMA awards show wardrobe. It’s actually pretty cool!

She is so much more more independent. – I remember wrestling my toddlers into clothes and then worrying about what the teachers would think of her ridiculous outfit because it was the only thing she would wear. I also remember begging her to eat just one more bite and, oh my, the potty training. Now, she wakes up when her alarm clock goes off. (I always double check!) Then, she gets herself dressed, fixes herself some breakfast, and, this year even packs her own lunch. She can also tie her own shoes and hasn’t asked me to look at her poop in years!

She can tell time. – Toddlers move at their own pace because they don’t understand the concept of time and schedules. In fact, my six year old still does this. My tween on the other hand, knows when the tardy bell rings at school and she knows when her gymnastics class starts. She doesn’t want to be late to hang out with her friends so she is much more motivated to get there on time and understands the consequences of being late.

She does her own homework. -O.K. Maybe toddlers don’t have actual homework, but I remember trying to help my girls learn their ABC’s & 123’s. It was tedious and frustrating. Now, my sixth grader is encouraged to do her homework “independently” and, truthfully, she is probably going to bring home some math problems that I couldn’t help with even if she asked!

She can read. – I couldn’t even begin to tell you how many times I read Brown Bear or Green Eggs & Ham. Although I loved the cuddle time, the repetition was maddening. Now, she can read what she chooses on her Nook all by herself as many times as she wants!

She doesn’t need naps anymore. – I know naps can be nice, but they can also be a pain. When my daughters were little, my schedule revolved around their sleep schedules. We had to be home for naps and bedtime. Now, of course, they don’t nap and their bedtimes can be flexible Plus, my tween sleeps in every chance she gets!

We get some time apart. – Since I am a stay at home mom, I rarely got time away from my kids when they were toddlers. Although I loved them dearly (still do!), sometimes we just both needed a break, but it was hard to get one. Now, she’s in school most of the day. When she is home, she can entertain herself and doesn’t feel the need to be physically attached to me all the time.

She is becoming who she is going to be. – The biggest goal for most toddlers is keeping their pants dry or making it through a playdate without altercation. My tween, however, is beginning to develop real life goals. She is thinking about what she really wants to be when she grows up. She is working to get good grades. She is learning how to make friendships last. She is developing her own set of beliefs. It is so exciting to be getting a glimpse of who she is really going to be “when she grows up.”

We get perspective. – Every stage of childhood and parenting is special in some way. When my daughter was a toddler, I loved the cuddling and cuteness. However, I spent my days dealing with messes and calming tantrums. I often wondered if we would ever get through that stage. Sure, the tween and teen years will have their ups and downs. I know there will be rough patches. But, now I can say, “Look how far we’ve come!” We made it through breastfeeding and potty training. We made it through separation anxiety (hers and mine). We worked together to deal with that bully in fourth grade. We both survived her first overnight trip. We’ve had “the talk” and can communicate openly. We’ve made it through a lot already. So I say, bring on the tween years. We’ll make it through those, too, and they will be great!

Originally posted on Lisa’s blog.

Photo courtesy of Joanlandinosays.com.

Your child is officially a tween from the ages 10 – 12. The time when they are no longer a child, but definitely not a teenager.

They want to do the same things a teenager does – like wear makeup, dress a bit older and have some freedom, yet most girls at this age are not ready.

Being the parent of a tween girl transitioning into a teen can be one of the most challenging periods of parenting (or at least it feels that way). While the ride can often be bumpy, there is also a lot of fun to be had. What’s the best way to get through those difficult, emotional years?

We have some tips:

Fashion
Fashion provides an outlet for your child, allowing them to express themselves. Allow your child to make their own fashion choices. You may not like the latest “neon” trend or stripes and polka dots, but remember – she is wearing the clothes – not you. Be there to guide them, but also set limits. In other words “daisy dukes” may be in but that’s where you draw the line. Pick your battles with care. You may not want to say no to the stripes and polka, dots but when your daughter is walking around with her bra straps hanging out, that may be a much more important battle for you to take on.

Allow Some Freedom
Giving your child some freedom will go a long way to helping your child feel a bit more grown up. This is a personal preference and you are the only one who can decide what your child is “allowed” to do. For some parents it may mean allowing your 10 year old to cross the street while for others it may mean allowing your 12 year old go to the mall with her friends.

Taking baby steps is probably the easiest way to giving your child freedom. Start out by allowing your daughter go to the mall with friends, but walk behind them (again for some parents this could be 10 feet, while for others it could be 3 inches).

Saying “NO” too much may lead to resentment and even rebellion. While it’s important for the parent to keep their child safe, it is also important to allow your child room to grow while doing it. The road can be bumpy, so buckle up. This leads us to the next tip…

Communication
The lines of communication need to be kept open at all times. At times this can be just as hard as giving your child freedom. Especially when they are giving you the blank stare or dare we say, the eye roll – the one that says, “you have no clue what it’s like to be me.” And we do….. to a point. We didn’t have the technology that is available to the kids of today. The one where their life can change in an instant, with the touch of a button.

Sitting down with your child and listening to them talk at length about the newest boy band may not be interesting to you, but who knows it may lead to a really great conversation about their newest crush or what’s going on during school. By listening to them you are a part of their life, without forcing your way in.

It is during both the tween and teen years that your child will test the boundaries – just like when they were toddlers and would walk over to the outlet with a huge smile on their face wanting to see what you would do. Only this time, instead of throwing themselves on the floor when you say “no”, they may rebel. While you are trying to gradually allow them to grow up, they would like to bungee jump off the bridge. Try to remain calm, consistent and stick to your beliefs and values. The tweens/teens are just as confused and anxious as you are and although they will deny that they even want anything to do with you – they will thank you at some point. Hopefully way before they have their own children.

Photo via.

 

GUEST BLOGGER: Shari Von Holten
Shari Von Holten is a founding partner of the websites The Teen Trends and Have U Heard, one of the highest ranking celebrity websites on the internet today. The Teen Trends is an exciting new website that talks about fashion, beauty, entertainment and more for teens. In addition, there is a parent’s corner with informative articles and tips to help you through the teen years. With an MBA from Hofstra and a background in Finance, Shari has become an expert in teens through first hand experience. Shari resides in New York and is married with two children.

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When my Mother died almost three years ago, along with my world turning inside out, I somehow developed an appetite for young adult literature. I am sure I wanted something comforting and captivating. I revisited old favorites and found new loves. It coincided with my daughter’s tastes in books changing; they were seven and nine at the time and were ready to start devouring books themselves. There are fabulous writers for this age range but sometimes finding great books that are still age appropriate for my daughters can be tough. I loved the Twilight series, but I am not ready for my children to dive into them yet. I tend to lean to old fashioned great storytelling. Here is what my 11 year old has been reading lately (I read them first just to check).

Bridge to Terabithia – Katherine Paterson

Faith, Hope and Ivy June – Phyllis Reynolds Naylor


The 39 Clues (all the books! Great on CD too,                                                                                                                                             for the car)

The Name of This Book is Secret – Pseudonymous Bosch (there are 4 books in the series).

 

Because it has been rainy and a little chilly here in L.A.  (I know everything is relative, and after living in Southern California for 15 years, anything below seventy degrees makes me run for my fleecy), my whole family has been fighting a cold and sore throat. So this week’s tea is Traditional Medicine’s Throat Coat. My girls love it with honey and lemon. If I really need a kick I stir in a little cayenne pepper and maple syrup. It’s yummy and feels like it’s burning the “sick” right out of me.

Photo via.