As soon as our son Josiah turned ten, it seemed like all of the sudden we are in the tween years. I sometimes feel like we are in a dark room looking for the light switch. I keep flipping the wrong switch, but every once in a while I hit one that sheds a new little light. Here are the latest "lights" I have discovered.
1. Get technological. His new cell phone finally came last week after one lemon that had to be sent back and two postal delivery disasters. It's shiny red and fits perfectly in his ten-year-old hand. I thought we were getting him the phone for a measure of safety when we aren't together and convenience for me. I had no idea its greatest value would lie in texting. With an unlimited texting plan, we pretty much text about anything and everything. When he just can't say it, he can text it. I am in serious parent love with my new portal for tween connection.
2. Get down to playing. Just when it seems the Lego love is about to die it comes back to life. There is a push and pull of getting closer to becoming a teenager but still a love of certain types of toys and playing. Sometimes he asks if I want to play, other times I just wander in and sort. Doing something quiet together, side by side, seems to be where it's at. Play is almost always good for everyone's soul.
3. Let him try. New abilities and creative thoughts are flowing big time in our boy's head. They are so big, sometimes I know it might not work out or be possible in the way he has in mind. However, every time I listen and let him try with my support, we are building a mutual trust. His development is yelling to have the opportunity to figure things out on his own.
4. Trade stories and knowledge. I am sure I have now listened to hours of Pokemon training and looked at about a million cards. I've decided which is my favorite and made various art projects based on the little creatures. He loves being the expert, and I get a chance to be the student. Every now and then, when the moment presents itself, I get to tell a story about when I was kid or share something I know a little bit about.
5. Hold me now. The days of holding hands in public are starting to fade, but it doesn't mean he doesn't need to be held. In a mini-breakdown the other day over the pressures of school, I instinctually asked him if I could hold him. He crawled right into my lap like he was two again. Lounging on couches close together, back rubs/scratches, arm around the neck, touch feels more important than ever. I guess we never stop needing it.
If you have a tween at your house, how do you stay connected? How is your relationship shifting and changing?