25 September 2017

10 Things I Love About My Tweens

What are the things that make you most proud of your children? When you really think about it, what are the attributes and characteristics of your kids that just amaze you? Make you smile. Your heart glow. And make you proud to be a parent.

10 Things I Love About My Tweens









Last week my eldest boy, now aged 10, spent an entire week away with the school. I say a week, it was four nights but felt like a week. It was the first time he’d been away from home without any family members. He really looked forward to it – in fact had a brilliant time – but the time apart made me realise just how grown up my little boy has become. How much he, and his younger brother now 8 years old, have developed and matured as little people. And I started to think about the things that I really admire about them both, now that they have reached the ‘tween’ stage.

Characteristics of a Tween


At 8 and 10, my boys are no longer little kids, but also not yet teenagers. That in-between stage though seems like one of the most marked in terms of child development. Where they start to learn and show so much about themselves, other people and the world around them.

10 Things I Love About My Tweens


We all know that raising school-age children is amazing. I’m not saying that it’s not a challenge sometimes. It can be frustrating, repeating yourself over and over again, but every day they present us with something new. I love watching them try new activities, cheering them on at sports day and applauding their achievements – over the past year my boys have performed in a Scottish Opera at Sage Gateshead, danced on stage at City Hall as Luke Skywalker, earned their next karate belts, read bigger and thicker books, donated toys and clothes to charity, and made the most of every opportunity that has come their way – many of which have been through this blog.

They no longer need or want constant supervision, they are becoming gradually ready for more independence, and it is so lovely to see them learning to make good choices and exercise self-discipline as well as learning from their mistakes.


These are the characteristics of a Tween that I am loving see develop.




1. The ability to make friendships 



My eldest never had any problem making friends. Be it on a beach [link], in a park, school playground or on holiday he’ll always be able to find someone to play with. He’s often the person to make the first move. He won’t always know their names, but that doesn’t matter, they’ll have fun together. I love that they are both really sociable and are comfortable in the company of adults and children. I hope this continues into adulthood.

10 Things I Love About My Tweens



2. Start to challenge and question the world 



The ability to wonder is one of the best things about being a child. Both my boys love watching Operation Ouch and Horrible Histories, going to museums and historic buildings, and they are starting to love and understand the world around them, and this encourages them to question why things happen. I haven’t always got a good reason or an explanation, how do you explain the bad things that happen in this world, but I love the fact that they are starting to question and not just accept.

10 Things I Love About My Tweens



3. Growing awareness of themselves 


Being close to puberty my boys are starting to see themselves very differently to when they were younger. The appearance of emotions such as embarrassment, pride, guilt and shame demonstrates that a child is developing self-consciousness, and the ability to express why they feel a particular emotion develops at this age. They also become more self-conscious about themselves It hasn’t happened yet but I’m just waiting for when they start to refuse to wear the clothes I’ve bought.

10 Things I Love About My Tweens



4. Willing to experiment 



If there is one thing that really characterises my eldest is that he will try anything. Food, activities, you name it he’ll give it a try. He won’t always like it or want to do it again, but he’ll give it a go. Although he is scared of heights he went on a fast fairground ride, attempted a climbing wall, climbed to the top of a stack of crates. Neither of them let anything hold him back but at the same time isn’t irresponsible and doesn’t look for danger or take risks.

10 Things I Love About My Tweens





5. An eagerness to learn 



Whether we are in the house, watching TV or out and about they are both keen to learn. New things, about nature, about history or the future, it's so lovely to see. They don't just attend sports clubs but also code clubs too - they just love learning. And all the better if it's fun too. I watched some kids TV recently with hubby (the kids were there too) but we were discussing how much more informative as well as entertaining kids TV is now, far better than when we were young, and also so much more informative than most of grown-ups TV.

10 Things I Love About My Tweens



6. Love spending time as a family 


This is one of my favourites. They are still at an age where mum and dad don’t embarrass them. They are keen to still be part of the family. Enjoy family days out, family holidays and also family meals. Long may this last.

10 Things I Love About My Tweens



7. Love exercise & wants to be healthy 


Both my boys are sporty – not necessarily the best – but still keen to participate. They have also learnt so much about healthy eating, dental care and looking after yourself. Yes, they love sweets but they love apples too.

10 Things I Love About My Tweens




8. Are kind and generous



At this age, they really do get a real empathy with other people. They don’t just think about themselves anymore but they imagine what someone else is thinking or feeling and then respond in a caring manner. This understanding, that other people have thoughts and feelings that are different than their own, is so lovely to see develop. They like making cards for friends and family, and even want to share their sweets with their friends. This was a Mother's Day Card they drew on an iPad.

10 Things I Love About My Tweens





9. They know their own minds 



Having a few stubborn moments myself or should that be determined - I’m expecting my boys to be strong-willed, competitive, perseverance and have ambition. But, not to the detriment of others around them. Importantly, they also understand fairness and equality too. They also persevered with their aim of getting on TV.

10 Things I Love About My Tweens



10. Always try their best 


I think this is all anyone can expect of anyone. Neither of my boys is showing signs of being the best in the world at anything, apart from maybe being my son! However, they do always try their best and that is as good as it can get in my book.

10 Things I Love About My Tweens

What We Love About Our children?


I also asked some mum friends what it is about their children that they most admire. Here are the things that they say make them proud.


THOSE WITH A MIX OF AGES

Helen said "I wonder how I got so lucky every day. V (aged 11) is super kind & caring & will strike up a conversation with everyone. M (aged 15) is the hardest worker ever & little T (aged 6) is hilariously brilliant at holding a witty conversation with adults once she has got comfy with them. All so different!"

Emma said "My son is very chivalrous, he will open doors for people, put his hand out for women/girls to go ahead etc. with a great personality and my daughter is incredibly thoughtful and kind. She will make the family drinks without being asked to, clean up and do other random acts of kindness. Kids are 11 and 13." 

Jenny said: “Since their father got meningitis and they lost their sister, my children aged have all had to grow up very quickly and they've all become fiercely protective of each other. The way they stepped up to that challenge and care for each other makes me really proud.” 

THOSE WITH TWEENAGERS


10 Things I Love About My Tweens

Elizabeth said “My kid has this huge personality. He is just a total character. Anyone who meets him notices it right away. I don’t know where he gets it, or if he was just born with it, but it’s so unique. I admire that most about him. He is 12 now.” 

Nikki said "My son is almost ten and built like a mini rugby player. He is very active and a stereotypical 'boy'. What I love is that he is so good with babies and little children. If we are out an about and he comes across a toddler he will always look out for them and help them when he can. I often get other parents I don't know come and praise me for how kind he has been to their children. Now if only he'd be a bit nicer to his sister!"

Kelly said "My eight year old son is so quirky, with long hair and a penchant for jewellery, he owns how he looks and I admire that! I also love his old worldly ways as though he's been on this planet before! My daughter's fire is a trait I wish I had, she is strong and doesn't allow anyone to push her around, she's also wild and would most likely love to live in the woods as long as she could take books and some cuddly toys. I love their individuality and strength, they are inspirational to me." 

Jen said “My Ben is 11 and he is such a comedian that is definitely what I love most about him” 

Samantha said “I love it when H (11), H (8) and J (6) show that they are a good friend. It's something I always try and instil in them. Their teachers always comment on how kind they are to other children (often children who are left out) and as someone who was often bullied myself at school, I couldn't be more proud." 


THOSE WITH YOUNGER CHILDREN

10 Things I Love About My Tweens

Georgina said "My eldest daughter now 7 was bullied for months in year1,, coming home with bruises and broken clothes until it got so bad we moved her. She came home on many occasions telling me how she thought the bully was sad and lonely because they were playing on their own so she tried playing with them. She was pushed over in return but even at the age of 5 she could see that this person needed love. She also wanted to invite them to her birthday party so they didn't feel left out. She will also choose to play with lost reception children and help them feel more at home than her friends and is the kindest, most compassionate person I have ever had the pleasure to meet. She makes me forever proud to be able to call myself her Mum."

Leyla said “I literally have chalk and cheese in my house! My eldest is calm, collected and analytical and always appears to be thinking about his answer before he speaks. Nothing is really important or urgent to him. My youngest is passionate, emotional and unpredictable, and everything is either really important or really urgent to him! But the beauty is they balance each other out and they're the best of friends at 5 and 6 years old. I can't ask for better than that, even though it's like playing the roulette every day with how they're going to be."

Rachel said "My eldest (6) has been described as 'quirky' by two teachers in two different schools, which I love. My middle one (4) is the kindest little boy you could ever imagine. The 2 year old...well...he's slightly feral which could be good I guess."

Anna said "My boys, 7 and 2.5 years, are good people! People always comment on how polite they both are. But what makes me the most proud is that they are good people, and they care! If someone is sad or hurt they're right there. Very kind boys, what more could you want?!" 

Mary said "My 7 year old son is very shy but he isn't afraid to take his own path. He had no interest in doing what everyone else does and I'm proud of him for that. He totally knows his own mind." 

Nikki said "I love my eldests (7) determination, even in the face of adversity he just doesn't give up. He lives with a severe form of cerebral palsy and takes it all in his stride - or should that be a wheelchair equivalent of stride."

Jane said “My son (6) won an award at school last week for being kind and helpful. To me that's just as important as academic success. If he grows up to be a lovely human who cares about other people (whilst remembering to say please and thank you) then my work here is done. He is kind, thoughtful and helpful and I'm pleased he goes to a school which recognises that these are important traits to have." 

Karen said "My boy age 7 has the kindest tone and always wants to help (fix) when people are sad.my biggest girl age 8 love to give people things, home Made or her own stuff she just loves to share, and my littlest age three is fierce fearless and determined they all make me very proud."

Helena said "My eldest, now 5, is a problem solver (I'm sure he'll be an engineer) and my youngest, 2, is so happy and affectionate it makes me proud."




THOSE WITH TODDLERS

10 Things I Love About My Tweens

Becka said “My 2 year old is so resilient. Despite having social communication disorder and sensory issues he continues to be a confident little man who will always find a way to get his point across. It's never stopped him doing what he wants to do."

Emma said “Jake is an independent, active, cheeky 3 year old. He never ceases to amaze you or put a smile on your face. Sometimes I think he's got a much older soul."

Anna said: "I have 2 year old twin girls and one of the lovely characteristics of twins is that from a very young age they looked out for one another and were very kind. If one gets something, they ask for another to give their sister."

Lianne said "How caring and compassionate my 3 year old is. Always asking how everyone is and telling us he loves us - he squeezes my face and says ohhh I love you mummy."

Sinead said “My small human is such a gentle soul. I love that he is as happy in his tent reading a book on his own, as he is running riot with his friends. Who knew 3 year olds could be such beautiful creatures.” 

Naomi said: “Both my girls are full of personality and loved by everyone but the thing I love the most is the way they are together. Seeing the love they have for each other is simply the best thing in the world. The way my eldest cares for, worries about and watches over her baby sister. The way her baby sister dotes on her, watches, learns and copies; plus always asks where she is when she is not there due to being at preschool. The love between them is amazing. They are three and a half years old and nine months old."

Jessica said “My little girl at nearly two is very strong minded . Although this can be tough at home to deal with at times . It's does mean she knows her own mind and won't take anything for anyone. This already comes in very handy at nursery and hopefully she will continue to have this trait when she is older."

Emma said “My youngest 'Monkey' (aged 1) is so cheeky, joyous and happy all the time, he literally brightens people's day and makes other people around him happier. My eldest 'Bear' (aged 3) has always been a deep thinker and he is so incredibly caring and creative. He is such an interesting person to be around. He came running in the other day because a bee had landed in the water table, so collected lots of flowers for it to drink from and then watched over it until it flew away an hour later."

Donna said “Nina (4) is very caring and considerate (most of the time) and fiercely independent. She's an excellent contemporary dancer and a budding gymnast. Robyn (18 months) is made of tough stuff and gives put the best cuddles. She idolises her but sister and lives for books. What I love most about them both us the friendship they have - they are so different and do fall out white often, but they always make sure to look after each other - making sure if one gets a drink, so does the other.” 


AND THOSE WITH BABIES


10 Things I Love About My Tweens


Rebecca said “I love how inquisitive my 18-month-old is. Always finding little things to explore, even if she does still try and eat half of it! I find her feisty independence and stubbornness frustrating but I know as an adult if she puts her mind to things with that attitude she will succeed in anything she wants to do.” 

Hanna Rose said “My daughter has started to show a really loving and caring side to her at 16 months old. She goes out of her way to help other children if she can and loves giving cuddles and kisses, I'm so proud of the way that she treats people.” 

Christy said “My little dude is only 5 months but he's just so happy and smiling all the time. His eyes light up when his dad or I walk into the room and he always has a big grin ready - it fills me with joy too.” 

Gemma said “My little lady is 18 months old and is fierce and sassy. I'm proud of her independence but this undoubtedly backfires when she's pushing boundaries. I want her to be a strong, independent lady - but I also want her to listen to what I say. I'm hoping this strong mind will drive her determination to do well in life. And be happy."


Parenting Memes


I’m not usually one for online memes but my mum shared a Facebook post recently which I’m sure will resonate with us all

As your mother, I promise you that I will always be in one of 3 places...
1. In front of you to cheer you on,
2. Behind you to have your back
3. Or next to you so that you aren't walking alone




What makes you most proud about your child?

Deb x

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10 Things I Love About My Tweens

18 comments:

  1. Thanks for including my comment. I'd forgotten I'd said it to you actually, and I was a bit *gulp* when I read it there :)
    Lovely to see all of the different things our kids all do that make us proud - I can relate to all of them :)

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    1. Thank you so much for your input. It's been a lovely post to write. Reading your blog brought a tear to my eye. Big hugs x

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  2. Oh I love this post - so heart warming. Your boys are just gorgeous and so wonderful characters. There's no denying that parenting can be tough but the hard work is just so worth it. x

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  3. It sounds like a great age! Feels like such a way off for my two though. Great post x

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    1. Honestly, that what I thought too and now we are here. Enjoy the journey x

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  4. I love kids in this age, they’re so adorable. My little brother is 8 now so he’s started questioning everything right now. He wanted to know if the pirates from The Pirates of the Caribbean are real 🙈

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  5. This age sounds great. It's fantastic that your boys are so adventurous and becoming such independent 'tweens'. It was lovely reading the round up from so many others to and gave me a sense of things to come as Little grows. Thank you also for featuring my comments too. Rebecca @ Little, Big & Me

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  6. Ok you've made the tween age sound not so scary which is great as I've got two boys too!

    www.babiesandbeauty.com

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    1. It's not been scary at all - just lovely x

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  7. Aww that last quote from the Facebook meme is so lovely. My eldest is 7 so just staring to change into a tween: I have a lot to look forward to!

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  8. This is such a sweet post my 9 year old tween is changing every day and even though she has a bit of sass she still manages to crack us up with her humour

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  9. Awww this is such a lovely l and heart warming post. It's so awesome watching them grow isn't it. My little ones are 4 and 5 and everyday I'm finding I'm learning something new about them.

    Looks like your raising very awesome boys :) it's great there so confident and not afraid of trying new things.

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  10. Such a lovely post - they actually look like twins in some of the photos!
    http://www.onesliceoflemon.com

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