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The Tween Years: Confidence or Fear



I can still vividly remember my preteen and middle school years. I remember going with my mom to buy special clothes for gym class complete with the awkward jock strap. All of us in the middle school gym class had the required white shirts and red shorts. One of the girls in our class developed much quicker than the rest of the girls and bore the brunt of the jokes and laughs from the boys. We were all awkward with our own development, but this girl was the recipient of all our jokes because she developed quickest.

In a few months our oldest daughter Anna will turn 10 and officially venture into the preteen/tween years. We were blindsided by her entrance into puberty and couldn’t figure out why she would break down crying at the most random things and soon after act out in a temper tantrum.

Just yesterday she broke down crying in gym class and her gym teacher tried to console her. He asked her why she was crying and Anna exclaimed, “I don’t know why I’m crying!”

Anna has entered puberty.

I have a Master’s Degree in Youth and Family and years of experience working with teenagers, yet none of this can really prepare me for our own daughters becoming teenagers.

I entered puberty early and benefited from being six feet tall in middle school. It’s different for girls. Just like the girl in my gym class who was made fun of by the boys, it’s harder for girls who develop early.

Once again I am presented with the ultimate test of parenting.

Confidence or fear.

I can be fearful of what could happen to my daughter or have confidence in her ability to have perseverance and courage with whatever comes her way.

Whether I choose confidence or fear, Anna will be able to see my emotions and will probably respond the same way I do.

As a father, I must continue to make my relationship with my daughters a priority especially during the awkward and sometimes traumatic years of puberty.

I must choose confidence.


Identity Costumes and Easter Dresses

I remember hating to dress up for church as a child. My dress clothes never fit well and those darn clip-on ties were so uncomfortable. I always wondered why we had to dress up for church.

Now fast forward 25 years and now I’m the father of two daughters attempting to help my daughters get dressed for Easter. My mother-in-law had bought some great Easter dresses and on Palm Sunday our girls both wore the dresses to church. But something switched on Sunday morning. Our oldest daughter Anna, who is beginning to search for her identity as a girl in a world of pink and princesses, did not want to wear her Easter dress. My wife Hillary tried to convince Anna to wear the dress but it wasn’t working. In our co-parenting, there are just some times when I can use my “sales and deal making” skills to talk Anna into something that she doesn’t want to do but needs to. Read the rest of this entry