If you’re not receiving ‘constructive criticism’ on your parenting decisions on a daily basis from your tween-aged child, how do you even know you’re a parent? Yes, that’s the new daily delight I’ve been receiving in my house in recent months.
My 11-year-old has lots of opinions and feelings about everything. But especially the choices I make for his safety and well-being. Well, he is the offspring of a former lawyer, after all. So really, I only have myself to blame.
It’s great he has independent thought, and he’s developing his negotiation skills. But also, it’s extremely annoying and inconvenient.
We went on holidays recently and had an argument one morning about sunscreen. This is a child who knows he has to wear it because the consequences of not wearing it can be fatal. But after years of compliance, there was suddenly a “you’re not the boss of me” conversation which had absolutely nothing to do with being sun smart. It was just because.
And that’s the most frustrating part of this new tween era. Most of the time, we are bickering about things that aren’t really a choice. Screen time, going to bed at a decent hour, eating food with at least 0.0005% of nutritional value – those are things in life we just have to do if we want to be happy and healthy.
But the biggest ongoing debate in our house at the moment is one I never expected to have.
It’s about before and after school care.
I work in an incredibly supportive company, which permits me to bring my son to work when I need to and understands it’s difficult for me to work after standard business hours. I’m very lucky my employer really gets the issues of being a working mum.
But ultimately, I have a job to do, and it needs to be done in standard business hours. And also, I’m a sole parent, with no family in Sydney. This means my son has to attend both before and after school care, every day.