Sunday, July 25, 2010


I write this as Maddison (10 turning 35) sits in her room and sulks.   No doubt there are tears and silent curses that are inspired by me and a great deal of wishing herself into a world of glittering unicorns and cooler mothers. 

To be honest, I always wondered when “it” would happen and now I know.  “It" being, turning from a sweet girl into a hormonal tween who to quote Britney Spears , "Is not a girl, but not yet a woman”.

And the fact that she goes from calm to ridiculous in 0-30 seconds is what is spinning Phil and I out the most.  More than once we have just turned and looked at each other and silently mouthed “WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT!!!?”  Hurricane Maddie, that’s what.

The smallest of events are setting her off.  She goes postal when one of her brothers looks at the wrong way. She starts mean, convoluted rants directed at them for sitting too close to her on the communal couch.  She is constantly telling me I am being “so unfair”.  ZOMG you guys, you should see how she behaves when I have the audacity to tell her to hop off the computer. Then there’s the whine when at bedtime (a very generous bedtime I might add) that she hasn't stayed up long enough.  You name it, I am the mother who is not only unreasonable in my requests to keep her room semi-clean, but also the very same that failed to produce her sisters instead of brothers.

To be fair, these explosions are only happening 25% of the time and have only  started in the last 3 months or so.  I get it,  I mean I was a young lady with raging hormones once. Ask Phil and he’ll probably tell you not a lot has changed except I can no longer call myself a young lady.

Currently the sulk fest is due to the fact I’ve just nixed her chances to go to the movies as was the plan for our lazy Sunday. Dad’s at cricket all day and I had suggested we finally go and see Toy Story 3.  Immediately she wasn’t  keen “I want to see Shrek, Toy Story doesn’t interest me”.  Interesting.  See all I hear there is “I” and “me”, which sucks for her because we have 5 people in this family so it’s never going to be all about her. 

Anyway, the inane details of her subsequent spiteful behaviour directed squarely at Sam for no particular reason doesn’t matter.  The fact that she seems  so intent on choosing the unhappy side of the line and not the positive one is what bothers me most.

So she’s in her room having a little think about it.  Meanwhile, the movie won’t be happening because even though on most occasions, I’ve given in (because I usually want to go more than them) I think today it is time to prove my point. 

I know this is small fry so far, but I am so scared if I don’t get on top of it from the start, I won’t be able to find my way back in when it matters most.

Yes I anticipated there would be mood swings and teen related grief of some kind, but I guess I just didn’t expect it this soon. There is no way in the freaking world I would have second guessed my mother or slammed my door in a fit of misguided rage at the age of ten. 

Or is my memory selective?

I vaguely remember desperately wanting a fluro "Choose Life" shirt and sulking my way into the Guinness World Records when instead she got me a cheaper knock-off midriff top that said “YES” on it.  Apparently my mother was a pimp.    

There is also photographic evidence of me pulling an atrocious stance outside Dreamworld because I didn’t want to go home.  Hmm, maybe Maddison hasn’t fallen so far from the Apple tree after all.

Are these hormones and mood swings fightable though?  Or should I just strap myself in and hold on tight?

Love to know of past and present experiences.

I particularly like wet noodle


Seraphim said...

Hon, I don't have a tween but I've taught a hell of a lot of them. Stick with your guns. Stay firm. You aren't her friend. She needs you to set boundaries for her. This is a good time to make sure she has a female friend who is older and wiser who will keep you posted on her angst. At this age, it is all about THEM. Trust me! Good luck. Wish you'd been my mum ;)

Bridget said...

Hey Bern...I hear you loud and clear. Rylee is going through the same thing. Even when I do nice things for her its not enough and she is so hard done by anyone would think she didnt have a loving family, a roof over her head, nice clothes and a flat screen tv in her room...go figure.

So Now What? said...

Hi Bridge!! Glad (but not glad) to hear Rylee is the same. So perhaps just the age?

And Sarah, thanks, she does have my best friend to "confide" in and I to her daughter. We'll trade secrets x

katmay4 said...

Speaking as the worst-Mum-in-the-world to a 14yo girl (among others), she will pop through on the other side as beautiful and lovely as she was before she hit the tweens. Ok, so mine is not there yet, but I can already see glimmers of the young woman version of the little girl I once knew, but lost to hormones for a spell.

Oh, and I did the unspeakable and gave her brothers AND a sister, and according to 14yo, that's even worse!

Ahhh, the joys of puberty. ;)

Lucy said...

Boundaries With Kids - is available at a good library near you.........xx

Mummy's Little Monkey said...

Oh shit - I have one little girl (2) and another on the way. I thought I'd have until they were at least 11 or 12 until I had to deal with all that pre-teen drama! My toddler is a black belt in the wet noodle, but is currently perfecting the Screaming Kicking Banshee Cat combo. She's very talented.

Nomie said...

Well, it's hit here already with Miss9. You may well have been describing our daughter. We just stick to our guns, and in the saner moments, talk about growing up, and puberty, and hormones.
She has a few other girls around her a bit older to also confide in.
But feck if it isn't a hard slog sometimes.

livinglifeasme said...

I only have boys, but have had my fair share of teenage girls come to visit. They are all angst ridden and their parent NEVER EVER understand them or know what's best (in their opinion). Good news is they do come out the other end ok. It is tough going. My best advice is to pick your battles. If she's a fiery one, you won't want to fight the hard fight over something minor. Teenagers are good and bad all rolled into one. Joy.

Smudgeblurr said...

Hey Bern,
As auntie to a 13yr old (going on 30) I understand totally.(mind you as the cool auntie I don't get the 'tude - just the good side) I bought her mum the book in the link below and she could really relate to it... I remember some rough times with my mum but I am sure I was at least in my teens...
Hold tight and definitely pick your battles - hope this helps -

Maxabella said...

Oh Bern, you've got me fearing for my life. Everything you've just describe happens with our young Miss as well... and, well, she's 4. Almost 5. Does it help that she's 5 in a few months? Didn't think so... But, really, with Cappers it's personality, not hormones. She's just a born annoying teenager. Maybe I should have her hormone levels checked or something???

Goodluck with Hurricane Maddie!!!!

Fiona said...

Oh, I remember those turbulent teen years! I remember doing all those things, and much more.

Speaking on behalf of my tortured teenage self, can I recommend a book that would really have helped me as a kid? Martin Seligman's 'Learned Optimism' (and his other one, 'The Optimistic Child'.) Seligman is now 'collaborating' with Geelong Grammar School

Simony said...

Oh my dear, I have a 12 y.o. boy, who has always been the sweetest child in the world until one year ago! Now he cries and screams for no or for little reasons!
I always prefer to talk to him about tantrums when he is calm and thinking. I feel sorry for anyone who goes through the spells of hormones, which can happen at any age, even in adults.
Good luck to us! Don't loose your mind, now they need us more than ever.

Wombat Central said...

I'm going to move to a cave with them just before the tween years. Would that help?

BTW, was very excited to see the Choose Life sign. Yay for George Michael when he was still hot.

Wombat Central said...

PS Best of luck to you!
PPS I'm going to get that Learned Optimism book for my way too negative 7-year-old son. :P

Cate P said...

Hormones, ahh, so horrid. She does need boundaries, but the three most important words I can say are "Pick your battles."
Stop and think "is there going to be a catastrophic consequence if I compromise on such-n-such? If I'm expecting her to compromise on what she considers important, no matter how ridiculous it is to me, should I perhaps meet her halfway? Strike a deal of some sort?"
Mine is 15, and I have several friends whose daughters have gone off the rails or run away at this age. Luckily for me, they went through it first and I have listened to them. Be strong when you have to be, gentle when it's needed.
Just pick your battles.

Wanderlust said...

What you describe sounds exactly like my 7 year old! Yikes. One tactic I use is to not give in to tantrums or rude demands. EVER. While she can be a pill at home at times I'm told by teachers and other caregivers that she is very thoughtful and conscientious. Teen years, I have no idea what they will hold. I think you are doing the right thing. She will push her boundaries with you and you are teaching her where they lie.

Katie said...

Oh lordy. I'm sorry that I don't have any wisdom to impart here. However, it sounds to me like you are doing well in how you're dealing with things. Keep on keepin' on!

x0xJ said...

haha that picture at the end cracked me up.
Oh *hugs* i bet boarding school is looking mighty fine?!
I agree on the jumping on top of it now. Be strong. Teenage girls are the scariest of all to go into battle against but you can do it!

Meredith @ thinkthinks said...

Ah yes. In retrospect I have been kind of lucky that my 12 year old daughter has been headstrong and argumentative right from the get go. People used to say to me "Oh no! What's she going to be like as a teenager!?" but to be honest it's almost easier now. I have honed my diplomacy skills, and now she is actually old enough to understand how to negotiate instead of just whipping herself into a frenzy.

I still have to remind myself to give a bit of leeway though. Especially when she makes a convincing argument. It's hard not to say no just for the sake of winning the fight.

Danya said...

Oh honey good luck. Miss 11 has been pretty manageable so far but she has always been that way. I expect Miss 8 to be awful. My sis reliably informs me that if we sit tight and stay firm we will all get there. Hers are now 21 & 23.

life in a pink fibro said...

Love the yoga illo! I was horrible from birth onwards, according to my mum, so I have nothing to offer here. All you can do is Hang Tough (post-Wham, but you know what I'm saying here). Good luck! Remember Neil Diamond said: "Girl, you'll be a woman soooon..." It's going to be a rollercoaster.

Kristy said...

I am so glad I have a boy. Even the most mild girls seem to go through these DRAMA phases and it seems like they save the worst of it for their Mama's! Good luck!

Tabitha Bird said...

Strap in and hold on tight. I have three year old who acts the same way... hmmmm :) I thought they got better with age? :)

Jodie at Mummy Mayhem said...

I've come to the conclusion that no matter how old they are, the tantrums are gonna happen!

Good for you standing your ground. I think that's the best you can do. I remember going on and on and on about getting a new bike when I was a kid. In the end, my Mum had to tell me she and Dad had bought me one for Xmas, but I was to stop going on about it to Dad. I guess I just expected that if I asked for something, I'd get it! (Didn't help that I was like an only child.)

But I'm happy to report, that even after ALL those times my parents gave in and bought me something after hounding them for it, the first time I came in to some money (thru a saving investment my parents had put away for me that matured at the age of 18), the first thing I did was go out and buy my parents a dining suite with it. I thought of them first.

So, you know, give the girl love and she'll turn out alright in the end. She will appreciate it, as she has a lovely Mum as her example. xxx

Kylie L said...

Oh no! I have an 8 year old and thought I had YEARS to go before the hormones hit :( I love some of the advice you got here (esp from Seraphim), and I think you did the right thing by standing firm. Set boundaries and stick to them- then everyone knows what to expect.
Good luck! And is there a way to subscribe to your blogs? I always seem to get here about 5 days late, and I'm sick of being the last commenter. #competitivestreak