Tween Asks for “Mom Time”

Yvette was in 7th grade and an independent 12 year old daughter of a single mom, Marianne, who worked full time. They had been through a lot together over the years and had flourished. Yvette was doing well in school and making friends – things that had not always come easily to her.

Marianne had worked hard to maintain a close relationship with her daughter in spite of Yvette’s “I can do it myself” approach to help and a strong resolve to make her own decisions about after school time, camp, school choice etc. Her eagerness to “grow up” quickly was also an ongoing theme in her childhood.

Given Yvette’s consistent need to establish her “own space” Marianne was surprised when her tween asked for her company on the trip home from piano lesson, a relatively short walk from home.

Puzzled but intrigued Marianne rearranged her schedule and began enjoying regular time with her daughter after her class that were full of low key but important conversation. Yvette used the time to talk about social and academic successes and difficulties and even began asking Marianne for opinions or advice.

Children this age don’t always ask for “company” but even so it is important for parents to find ways to hang out with their tweens and teens in a casual setting. When parents and children are “in transit” it is often easier to be relaxed enough to open up important discussions about the challenges adolescents handle every day. Establishing opportunities for ongoing dialogue between parent and child can make this exciting but complicated time easier for everyone.