A column by Erik Sosa
Newborns are miracles as they are perfect bundles of love. Toddlers are amazingly beautiful pudgy creatures that mostly concentrate on eating, pooping, sleeping and either smiling or crying. Preschoolers, similarly, are a great joy to play with, guide and mentor as they start to become self-aware. Sadly, too soon childhood innocence begins to fade, and patents are given glimpses of the person their child may become as they move through those formative adolescent years. Adolescence is more than a tad complex as boys and girls start to assert themselves in this dynamic world. Loudly and proudly they exercise their new found voice by optimizing their selective hearing while mouthing back to anyone or anything often disliked. Honestly, though, it’s astounding to see how easy it is for some parents to turn a blind eye and disregard this catalytic behavior all in the name of social and cognitive development of their baby Einstein. Which, in turn, leaves us with the creation of a moody prepubescent hormonal tween.
What is a tween? Simply put, children ranging from 9 to 12 are considered to be pre-adolescent because this stage in life they are said to be “between” years. Kind of like Britney when she quipped she wasn’t a girl, but not yet a woman. In my opinion, tweenagers are basically needier and more emotional versions of toddlers in near-adult appearance. For those considering having children in the future, take heed of this PSA. The surgeon general warns that tweens are hazardous for your health. Tweens are notorious for raising blood pressure, while, simultaneously, telling anxiety to come out and play with tension. Also, try to remember that you know you are in the presence of a tween when an invitation is needed to enter their space. And last, tweens, who only really care to understand the BEST or the WORST of things, believe that their electronic devices are“EVERYTHING!”
Let me just say that when Cole and Parker started to transition into their tweens, I was at a loss. No joke, almost overnight, my world was turned upside down because I honestly felt like I was living out a scene from the movie, Invasion of the Body Snatchers. For example, when I asked Parker why he wasn’t doing his homework all of a sudden, he responded with, “Because I didn’t want to do it.” It was as if his balls grew and dropped overnight?! Oh hell, No! I know I didn’t raise no delinquent! But alas, the parenting that was acceptable when I was growing up is grounds for child abuse today. So, I quickly had to learn to manage my behavior and composure when defiance made its debut at the Sosa-Kibby house.
Tween behavior is no laughing matter and a real rude awakening to parents because things can go very wrong very quickly in this day in age. It was a shock to one’s system when a child you have been raising for so long, with specific rules, ethics and standards, has, in essence, disappeared. Listen, when you notice your child has gone missing, everything you knew about parenting has to be re-evaluated honey because parenthood just turned a corner and entered the twilight zone. And if one is to succeed and not lose a child to the dark, because that’s what if feels like at times, a parent must learn to adapt and find new ways to communicate and engage with their tween that they think they can no longer relate to or recognize.
Managing and circumnavigating through these tween years will be a test of your love, patience, and ability to forgive and move forward. Hell, at times I even wished my gifts had come with gift receipts. I know what I just said may have sounded insensitive, but there is no need To judge my transparency. I have come to understand that no matter how tough raising children is or even may still get, I would adopt again in a heartbeat because just one of the positives from this whole experience outweighs all the negatives combines. Moments of rage, confusion, misunderstanding and the occasional questioning of self is entirely acceptable. As humans, how are we to grow and learn beyond our capabilities if we are not pushed by others. In mid May Cole and Parker will be turning 13 their teen years will add to the complexity their journey, and I can only pray that I can be with them as they push my emotions to where all I understand that works is love, forgiveness, and perseverance.