Tuesday, March 8, 2016

That Whole Tween Thing

I'm not even going to lie. . . middle school and the whole tween thing?  Hate it.  The expectations of kids so they get into the "right" high school is ridiculous.  Yes, our district has regular high school as well as magnet programs in all high schools.  The "right" school makes a difference.   Add to that the  whole hormonal changes, meeting new friends whose families might not be as strict as we are when it comes to speaking (cursing really), behavior, dress, makeup, etc has left me like this:
Mommy drinks because you're a tween!

We've always been lucky with Sunshine---she's a really good kid.  She's smart, has a kind heart, and has never been a problem in school.  And, she's always known her own mind and has been good about making smart choices.

Now?  We're finding ourselves in a position where we don't approve of her new friends.  We haven't spent much time with them other than meeting them at the school's Open House so maybe that's not fair to say we don't approve.  We don't like some of their habits.  Hunter and I have always made an effort not to curse around Sunshine.  One night we were driving home from ballet when she said Jesus' name in a manner that definitely wasn't praying.  I called her on it and she replied "How am I supposed to know what a cuss word is when you've never told me?"

And that's when I told her.  All.The.Words.  I explained that a good rule of thumb was to stop and ask herself if she would say the particular word around her grandmothers.  If she wouldn't then she shouldn't say it.

I have to say that she doesn't do it at home as we've told her we don't approve nor will we tolerate it. Friends tell me that she'll probably do it at school but keep it clean at home.  Fabulous.  

I know being a tween/teen in today's society is hard.  I know things are highly competitive and I know tween/teen girls can be mean.  We learned this back in the fall after Sunshine's BFF from elementary school told everyone who would listen that Sunshine had been asked to the fall dance by a boy.   When Sunshine confronted her she denied it but Sunshine found out it was her.  *sigh*  

So, back to these new friends.  At I'mNotSureIfWeLikeItYet middle school each grade level eats together as a class.  So, first semester Sunshine sat with the kids from her PE class which happens to include the new girls.  Her friends from elementary school are at other tables and no, you may not choose where you sit and no, you may not choose with whom you sit.  You may pull out your phone or device and quietly listen to music or whatever.

Because kids aren't on their phones too much or anything.

So, Sunshine finds herself wanting to be part of this new group of friends and has been hurt by her old friend's lie and subsequent mean behavior of ditching Sunshine for a new friend in their first period class.  When we carpool with her the conversation is awkward at best as the girl is always nose in her phone.  If I don't start a conversation the minute she gets in the car it's a silent ride unless Sunshine speaks up.

It stinks.

Sunshine's grades have been good but AP ELA has been a struggle.  A major assignment of a research paper with MLA citaiton format left us struggling for sources when the school library refused to let kids check out books on their subject lest another kid need them.  Um, what?  Luckily I was able to find books at the city library for her.   

I'm fine with her being challenged but the frustration with the teacher's erratic style (website is never accurate, assignments change, etc) is never ending.  I just keep saying that as long as she keeps a B or higher we'll be fine.

On the bright side, she's got a high A in Advanced Placement math, as well as As in her other classes. I know, I shouldn't be complaining.

When she's home she's either our sweet Sunshine or crazy irrational tween Sunshine.  One minute she is loving, wanting hugs, or to do something with me and then one of us will say something that will set her off and it's "FIIIIINEEEEEE!" and the epic flounce out of the room.   And when I say "say something" it's usually along the lines of "it's time to get ready for ballet" or "get ready for bed!"   

Dancing has been a saving grace as there is pretty much no drama there.  We did have one girl in her Monday & Wednesday classes who tended to be a drama mama but seems to have mellowed.  It helps that Sunshine was bumped up a level on Wednesdays and will move up over the summer to Level 4 which is pre-pointe.  Her goal is to get her pointe shoes---believe me, everything is about dance right now!

So, if you need me, I might be in the corner having a beverage until the tween years are over!